Helen Hunt Jackson Papers, Part 1, Ms 0020, Box 9, Folder 10
Transcribed by Anna Wermuth, 2015.
Phrenological Character of Mrs. Hunt. Given at Fowler, Wells & Co.’s Phrenological Cabinet, 142 Washington-Street, Boston, Mass. By D.P. Butler, Professor of Phrenology. Feb’y 11th, 1859. Self-knowledge is the key to self-improvement. Moral & Intellectual Science.
Your brain is of full size and exceedingly fine texture, and indicates more mental power than the average of large heads.
Your body is in good proportion to your brain and of correspondingly fine texture.
Such a general condition of brain and body is favorable to great susceptibility and acuteness of both feeling and intellect, rendering you liable to the extremes of happiness and suffering. Few persons have so intense feelings or so much clearness and activity of intellect.
Considering your delicacy of structure, and the great predominance of the mental temperament, your health has been, and is now, unusual, and must be partly attributable to superior moral and physical habits and surroundings; yet not a little is due to the favorable quality of organization and the balance between your brain and body in regard to size.
Notwithstanding your unusual apparent, and really fair state of health, you are not robust and enduring in the true sense of those terms. You are organized upon the principle of enjoying, suffering, and accomplishing much while you do live, rather than of being very long lived. It will require special hygienic treatment for you to retain vigor of health after forty years of age. The tendency is to exhaustion, rather than to an increase of vital and muscular power; but the reverse is true in regard to the development of the brain and nervous system.
Much of your present endurance is the result of nervous force, generally sustained by great firmness and ambition, rather than a capital stock of vital vigor and muscular endurance.
What you now need is to keep your brain and nervous system quiet; avoid all extremes and irregularities of nervous excitement; surround yourself with happy social, domestic, moral, and religious influences; act upon the principle of taking life easily and of being happy under all circumstances; observe the utmost regularity in all your habits; sleep abundantly, retiring and rising early and regularily; avoid all causes of exhaustion, and such as tend to nervous irritability, in particular; recreate out of doors much; especially walk much, but avoid becoming much fatigued; bathe regularily, but judiciously, and especially practise day rubbing; live upon a generous, but healthy diet; be systematic as to the kind, preparation, and eating of your food; be regular to the utmost in all your personal and constitutional habits; and, finally, make the means of acquiring vigor of health in study, and always hold yourself in readiness to make any sacrifice for the sake of health. In the relations of a wife, your habits should be regular, but guard against exhaustion--this last item is of great importance.
Avoid being much among the sick, or sleeping with sickly persons. Let all your associations and surroundings be of health giving tendencies to the fullest extent possible.
Avoid eating anything which you do not know to be healthy, or which you do not really need for nourishment. Never eat between meals—never hurry, at your meals, but eat slowly and masticate your food very fine, drinking but moderately, at your meals, but may drink as much pure water at other times, as your desire. Should not advise the use of much milk or sugar. Coarse wheat bread, baked potatoes, boiled rice, and ripe and sound fruits generally are very desirable. Tenderloin beefsteak, broiled; boiled mutton, and poultry are the best kinds of meat for you. If your appetite craves it, would advise eating meat once a day—not oftner. Make it a rule to enjoy your meals, and resort to various healthy modes of preparation for the sake of variety and to encourage appetite, but observe the rules of health rigidly, as well in little matters, as in those of greater importance.
In winter protect your lungs with flannel; and at all seasons wear thick soled shoes or boots—keep the feet dry and warm; bathe and rub the feet and legs frequently. Never sleep in any article of clothing worn during the day; sleep on hair, husk, and straw, not on feathers. Rub the neck and chest, daily, with a sponge moistened in lukewarm, or moderately cold water and then with a dry towel. Once a week, wash thoroughly in tepid soapy water and follow with a very thorough dry rubbing; and if the body is exposed to the air ten or fifteen minutes, in a comfortably warm room, it will be beneficial.
Your brain though not absolutely large is quite large enough for your body, your desires naturally being fully equal to your strength physically; besides, the form of your brain indicates comprehensiveness of the mind in a greater degree than is common for the size of the head.
Your whole organization favors mental development, more than physical, and such mothers rarely have children with less than large sized heads. Your feelings are very intense, but you incline more to thought, in proportion to women generally.
Your brain is not even and uniform; you have quite marked peculiarities of mind—some faculties excessive, others deficient, but the tone of your mind as a whole is very elevated and susceptible of a high degree of culture and refinement.
The social, moral, imaginative, and reflective faculties predominate over the selfish, religious, and remembering and perceptive. You have great insight in reference to motives, places, and philosophy; you reflect and reason much; are really fond of discussion; and very fond of hearing ingenious argument and good speaking; are a very good judge of both logic and oratory.
You have a most intense imagination and enjoy the beautiful and sublime in both nature and art exceedingly. There is nothing that you envy [about] others more than rare moral and intellectual gifts, especially if accompanied with a liberal education. You always had a great thirst for a finished education; you appreciate the refinements of life exceedingly and would be unhappy unless this taste was considerably gratified. You have good conception, taste, and criticism in reference to art, and probably music, but you have less of patience and practical talent and therefore do not succeed so well in the practical manifestation of your knowledge.
You have an abundance of ideas, and capable of being very entertaining in intellectual conversation, being fluent, sharp, and critical in the use of language; as well as original, clear, logical, varied, and witty withal, in your ideas.
It is quite natural for you to ridicule and are not infrequently sarcastic—I think you have found it necessary to restrain this tendency to avoid offending sensitive minds—sometimes you are a little cruel in punishing others—you rather enjoy that kind of revenge; at any rate, you enjoy conflict with a sharp witty reasoning mind.
You can compose well; write a good letter; are very fond of poetry and have talent in that direction. You would enjoy long intellectual opportunities—if not gratified, you allow it interfere too much with your happiness otherwise. You are not always correct and reliable in your memory and statement of facts—neither do you appreciate the purely matter-of-fact sufficiently. You have strong attachments as a wife, mother, and friend, though you are not remarkable for the uniformity of your disposition under unfavorable circumstances—you are very susceptible to surrounding influences, yet you are too much of a reasoner and have too much will power to be easily controlled. You are liberal in the use of property—though capable of being sharp in a bargain. You are generally cautious yet not secretive, and not always sufficiently circumspect.
You are exceedingly ambitious but none too self-relying and need more self-control in times of excitement. You are too sensitive; too set in your [habits?]; sometimes carry your fancies and ideas to the extreme.
You have very strong sympathies, and a very acute sense of justice, and when both are outraged your feelings are liable to control your judgement. You are generally cheerful though not very hopeful. The development of your moral and religious faculties indicates a rigid orthodox education; but other faculties indicate a tendency of more liberal views as you advance in age. You adhere rigidly to your principles, in religion, but your faith and devotional feeling are quite limited; you never had a fully satisfactory exploration of salvation by faith alone. You need more Reverence.
Your ingenuity is of the inventive kind; you plan and design better than construct. You have very fine taste as to the quality of things and are easily offended in that respect. You imitate and adapt yourself readily—have versatility as well as originality. Your observations are not minute—your memory of facts and dates is poor, but of ideas and designs excellent.