Posts Tagged ‘Julius Hawley Seelye’

I must admit to a slightly macabre inclination in my travels. A recent visit to the Wilder Brain Collection in the department of Psychology at Cornell University brought me face-to-face with this:


This is the celebrated brain of the notorious murderer and philologist Edward Rulloff (1819-1871). Celebrated why? For weighing in at 1,770 grams, making it one of the largest such specimens ever recorded. It is, in fact, approximately 30% larger and heavier than the average male brain. This datum may be helpful for our understanding of Rulloff’s aberrant and tragic life; or, it may not. To be sure, (pseudo-)scientific theories of the late 19th century saw a connection; phrenology, for instance (a frequent subject of our blog: here and here) would have had much to say about the relative prominence of the various “organs” of Rulloff’s brain.


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