Franz Joseph Gall, the founder of phrenology, born at Tiefenbronn, near Pforzheim, in Baden, March 9, 1758, died at Montrouge, near Paris, Aug. 22,1828. After literary studies at Baden and Bruchsal, he devoted himself especially to natural history and anatomy at Strasburg under Hermann, and passed thence in 1785 to the medical school of Vienna, where he attended the lectures of Van Swieten and Stoll, and in the same year received the degree of doctor. He gradually obtained success in his profession, with leisure for gardening and study. While a boy he had been struck with the differences of character and talents displayed by his companions, and after some time he observed, as he thought, that those students who excelled in committing pieces to memory all had large eyes. By degrees he suspected that the external peculiarities of the head corresponded to differences in the intellectual endowments and moral qualities, and disputed the theories of Aristotle, Van Hel-mont, Descartes, and Drelincourt, who fixed the soul respectively in the heart, the stomach, the pineal gland, and the cerebellum. He began to examine the heads of those who had exhibited any striking mental peculiarity, in lunatic asylums, prisons, seats of learning, etc.
He extended his observations to animals, and finally sought confirmation in the anatomy of the brain, of which he was the first to perceive the true structure. After 20 years he conceived that he had determined the intellectual dispositions corresponding to about 20 organs, that he had found the seats of these original faculties in the brain, and that they formed prominences or protuberances on the skull proportionate to their degree of activity. In 1791 he published the first volume of a general medical work, and in 1796 began to lecture on his peculiar theory in Vienna, where its novelty made a great sensation. The first written account of it appeared in a letter published in Der deutsche Mercur of Wieland in 1798. About this time he gained his best disciple, Spurz-heim, who gave great aid in the development and popular exposition of the doctrine. Dr. Gall continued his lectures till in 1802 they were interdicted by the Austrian government as dangerous to religion. He quitted Vienna in 1805, and in company with Spurzheim, who was his associate till 1813, travelled in central and northern Europe, lecturing in the principal, especially the university towns, and arrived in Paris in 1807. He established himself there as a medical practitioner, and delivered a course of lectures before a large audience.
His principles, however, met with much opposition. He presented to the institute in 1808 his Beclierches sur le systeme ner-veux en general, et sur celui du cerveau en par-ticulicr, and published it in the following year. In 1823 he made a short visit to London, where the receipts from his lectures were less than the expenses. The most elaborate of his works is the Anatomie el physiologic du systeme ner-veux (4 vols., Paris, 1810-'19), a second edition of which was published in 6 vols., each bearing a different title. An English translation of the whole work by Winslow J. Lewis, jr., M. D., was published in Boston (6 vols., 1835).