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Phrenology

The want ad section of the August 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this rather unusual Miscellaneous item:

Phrenology is a pseudoscience that claims that human traits can be determined by measuring the size of the bumps on the skull. Its popularity peaked from about 1810 to 1840.

The text of this ad is a little hard to follow, but it looks like if you cut out 100 photographs of people and 100 newspaper clippings of unfortunate events, you would get a free book from Prof. Cavanagh. I’m going to guess that it was about phrenology.

Since the Professor was obliging enough to include his address in his ad, I was able to trace him in the Toronto city directories. Francis J. Cavanagh (sometimes listed as Professor) was about at the end of his career by 1930; he appears in the 1930 and 1931 directories, but not after that. But he is listed in Toronto city directories for many years before that, going back into the 19th century; I found a listing for him in the 1885 directory. So he’d been studying bumps for a long time.

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