Phrenological bust by LN FowlerPhrenological bust by LN FowlerThe History of Phrenology on the Web

by John van Wyhe

HOLLANDER, Bernard (1864-1934)

Bernard Hollander was born in Vienna in 1864. He came to England in 1883 and studied physiology under David Ferrier at King's College Hospital. Hollander sought to revive interest in phrenology, and specifically a "modern" scientifically respectable phrenology. Nevertheless Hollander's phrenology was in some ways descended from the phrenology of the Combes. His first publications were on phrenological subjects from the mid 1880s. From 1892-3 he edited the Phrenological Record. In 1904 he founded the Ethological Society (London) over which he presided until 1929. He edited the Ethological Journal (1905-14, 1922). Between 1905 and 1906 he edited the Phrenological Review. From 1909 to 1911 he was president of the newly formed [Franz Joseph] Gall Society and edited its Gall Journal: A Resume of Lectures Delivered Before the Gall Society during the same period.

Hollander published many works, both popular and learned on phrenology. In contrast to the earlier traditions of British phrenology which contained thirty-five or more cerebral organs, Hollander recognized only eleven "anatomical and functional divisions of brain". These were given in his Scientific phrenology: Being a practical mental science and guide to human character an illustrated text-book of 1902 as:

1. Perceptive Powers.

2. Reflective Powers.

3. Ethical Sentiments.

4. Religious Sentiments.

5. Instinct of Self-preservation.

6a. Hoarding Instinct.

6b. Secretive Instinct.

7. Sentiment of Fear.

8. Egotistic Sentiments.

The locations of these divisions were influenced by the earlier phrenology. In addition Hollander categorized these divisions into three broad classes: Propensities, Intellect and Moral Sense; again very like the earlier phrenology. Part of Hollander's project was to dissociate his phrenology from the disreputable head-reading/fortune telling which was the most prominent form of surviving phrenology. Hollander's "scientific" phrenology was represented as a descendant of F.J. Gall, uncorrupted by later modifications. Hollander tried to revive Gall's reputation and was perhaps the first to consult German sources from phrenology's beginnings for an English audience. Hollander's remarks on the role of Gall's assistant J.G. Spurzheim remained unappreciated.

Like earlier phrenologists Hollander stressed the necessity to observe for oneself to confirm the truth of phrenology. In this sense Hollander's phrenology, like all the versions before him, was a science of seeking confirmations. Hollander tended to focus more on the shape of the entire head rather than on distinguishing individual organs. Also descended from the earlier phrenology was the injunction to achieve a proper moderate balance of the powers of the various parts of the brain in order to live a good life.

In addition to his phrenological interests Hollander began around 1907 to write on the treatment of the insane, criminality and the philosophy of education. These interests, and especially methods and uses of hypnotism made up the majority of his publications in the final decade of his life.


Ethological Journal.

Gall Journal: A Resume of Lectures Delivered Before the Gall Society.

Phrenological Record.

Phrenological Review.

Scientific phrenology: Being a practical mental science and guide to human character an illustrated text-book(1902).

The Revival of Phrenology the Mental Faculties of the Brain; an investigation into their localization and their manifestation in health and disease (1901).

The Unknown Life and Works of Dr. Francis Joseph Gall. An inaugural address delivered before the Gall Society on May 15th, 1909 (1909).

The Mental Symptoms of Brain Disease (1910).

In Search of the Soul and the Mechanism of Thought, Emotion, and Conduct 2 vols. [1920].

Brain, Mind, and the External Signs of Intelligence (1931).

Hypnosis and Anæsthesia (1932).


Further Reading

Cooter, R., Phrenology in the British Isles: An Annotated, Historical Bibliography and Index (1989).

Hedderly, Frances, Bernard Hollander: Pioneer, reformer and champion of Dr. Francis Joseph Gall (1965).

Marcel, Roditi, Bernard Hollander: Pioneer and Humanist (1933).

Back to home page

© John van Wyhe 1999-2011. Materials on this website may not be reproduced without permission except for use in teaching or non-published presentations, papers/theses.