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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Frances Milton Trollope (1780–1863)

Culture in the West

From “Domestic Manners of the Americans”

I HEARD an anecdote that will help to show the state of art at this time in the West. Mr. Bullock was showing to some gentlemen of the first standing, the very élite of Cincinnati, his beautiful collection of engravings, when one among them exclaimed, “Have you really done all these since you came here? How hard you must have worked!”

I was also told of a gentleman of high Cincinnati ton, and critical in his taste for the fine arts, who, having a drawing put into his hands, representing Hebe and the bird once sacred to Jupiter, demanded in a satirical tone, “What is this?” “Hebe,” replied the alarmed collector. “Hebe?” sneered the man of taste—“What the devil has Hebe to do with the American eagle?”

We had not been long at Cincinnati when Dr. Caldwell, the Spurzheim of America, arrived there, for the purpose of delivering lectures on phrenology. I attended his lectures, and was introduced to him. He has studied Spurzheim and Combe diligently, and seems to understand the science to which he has devoted himself; but neither his lectures nor his conversation had that delightful truth of genuine enthusiasm which makes listening to Dr. Spurzheim so great a treat. His lectures, however, produced considerable effect. Between twenty and thirty of the most erudite citizens decided upon forming a phrenological society. A meeting was called, and fully attended; a respectable number of subscribers’ names was registered, the payment of subscriptions being arranged for a future day. President, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary were chosen, and the first meeting dissolved with every appearance of energetic perseverance in scientific research.

The second meeting brought together one-half of this learned body, and they enacted rules and laws, and passed resolutions, sufficient, it was said, to have filled three folios.

A third day of meeting arrived, which was an important one, as on this occasion the subscriptions were to be paid. The treasurer came punctually, but found himself alone. With patient hope he waited two hours for the wise men of the West, but he waited in vain. And so expired the Phrenological Society of Cincinnati.