Phrenology of Tom Thumb


The head of General Tom Thumb has been examined by Mr. Stratton, who reports of it that the size of the brain is the smallest recorded of one capable of sane and somewhat vigorous mental manifestation.

"As regards the balance of the different parts of the head, 'General Tom Thumb' is a very favorable specimen in most particulars. The ante­rior and coronal regions are slightly below an equal balance, the posterior is slightly above. Some of the individual organs present slight deviations from the equal balance. In the anterior region, individ­uality, form, size, weight, locality, and eventuality, especially the last, are the largest organs. Cautiousness is conspicuous in the lateral aspect. The cerebellum seems to be very small, as defective indeed as I have ever seen it in an infant of six months. In this particular the 'general' is a very remarkable case against the doctrine held by some, that the cerebellum is connected with the regulation of muscular action; for, if there be any one thing more than another, for which he can be said to be

remarkable, apart from his diminutive size and fine proportions, it is his control over muscular action.


In his representations of the Grecian statues, Napoleon, Frederick the Great, the English gentleman, the Highland chieftain, &c., the rapidity with which he can change his posture, and the accuracy with which he can imitate the actions and attitudes -- so far as mere muscular action is concerned -- of the objects represented, are regarded as very remarkable. His intellectual acquirements are said to be very limited as yet. It will be ex­tremely important to note his progress in this particular. It is to be hoped that phrenologists who happen to meet with the 'general' will endeavor to inform themselves as accurately as possible regard­ing his progress and proficiency in intellectual pursuits, and report from time to time. His muscular system has attained a degree of firmness, strength, and maturity, quite equal to, or rather beyond, the average of his age. It is legitimate to presume that the brain is matured in a corresponding de­gree. His health is said to be excellent. 'General Tom Thumb' is, then, I repeat, a case of un­usual interest to the phrenological world.


He affords the extremely rare opportunity of solving one question in the great problem: What amount of manifestation is a well-balanced and healthy head of a given size capable of? The 'general' is certainly very near, if he does not actually touch, the extreme lowest point on the scale of size. What, then, is a head of 66 or a brain of 40 cubic inches capable of attaining in his circumstances!" -- Critic

Phrenology of Tom Thumb - October 31, 1846 - Littell's Living Age - Disability History Museum,  (March 04, 2009)


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