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Buchanan, Joseph Rodes (11 December 1814–26 December 1899), physician and author, was born in Frankfort, Kentucky, the son of Joseph Buchanan, a physician, and Nancy Rodes Garth. His father had a varied career as a physician and journalist and was one of the first faculty members at Transylvania University in Lexington. Upon his father’s death in 1829, Buchanan worked as both a printer and schoolteacher in Lexington. In 1835 he became acquainted with the “science” of phrenology formulated by the European investigators, Franz Joseph Gall and Johann Gaspar Spurzheim. Buchanan found phrenology to be a promising technique for investigating humanity’s moral and intellectual capacities and resolved to further his studies by entering medical school at the University of Louisville....

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Charles Caldwell. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B04072).

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Caldwell, Charles (14 May 1772–09 July 1853), physician, author, and teacher, was born in Caswell County, North Carolina, the son of Charles Caldwell, a farmer. His mother’s maiden name was Murray, although her given name is unknown. Caldwell’s father was an elder in the Presbyterian church and wanted Charles to become a minister. Accordingly, from the age of eleven to fourteen, Caldwell studied Latin and classical literature at a Latin school operated by Dominie Harris in Mecklenburg County. By the time Caldwell left Harris’s school, however, he had decided against a religious career....