Day/Time: TR 9:30-10:45 am
Dr. Deandra Little
Office: Teaching Resource Center, Hotel D, 24 East Range
Office hours: M and R 1-2 pm, and by appointment
Contact information: 982-2807,

This page contains online resources which can provide a broad overview or contextual information for the scientific discoveries, theories, or inventions we'll be encountering in the readings this semester. Please check back frequently. I'll continue updating it with resources applicable to each week's readings and mention which resources might be useful in class or on the online schedule.

Fingerprinting (Twain)

  • The History of Fingerprints - a brief explanation and timeline of descoveries regarding fingerprint identification
  • Biography of Francis Galton, a 19th-century British scientist and explorer, cousin to Sir Charles Darwin and inventor of one of the first scientific systems of fingerprint identification and classification
  • Francis Galton and Fingerprints an overview of Galton's research, complete with links to several of his publications in Nature, The [London] Times, and other leading 19th-century periodicals


Lightning Rods (Franklin, Melville)

Benjamin Franklin and Lightning Rods (overview of the history of Franklin’s invention and its implementation)

Franklin’s Lightning Rod (a chapter from a longer work on religious/scientific controversy; the first several paragraphs provide a nice overview of religious interpretations of lightning and responses to the lightning rod)


Medical Practice (Hawthorne, Gilman, Mitchell, Poe, and others)

Homeopathy in America

"Homeopathy and Its Kindred Delusions" by Dr Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Countercultural Healing, A Brief History of Alternative Medicine in America" by James Whorton, M.D.

From Quackery to Bacteriology: The Emergence of Modern Medicine in 19th Century America

The Historical Medical Digital Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Seeing is Believing: 700 Years of Scientific and Medical Illustration

E-text: Mitchell, S.  Fat and Blood:  And How to Make Them (1877).


Mesmerism (Hawthorne, Poe, Melville)

Note: There are much better print resources available on this topic, but the following websites can provide you with an overview of Anton Mesmer's theories of Animal Magnetism or Mesmerism and its popularization in the US.

"Mesmerized" -a history paper by a UGA student that contains a nice synopsis of mesmerism's influx and popularity in the US

Trance and Trauma: Functional Nervous Disorders and the Subconscious Mind (a look at Mesmer and subsequent developments in nineteenth-century Europe)

Benjamin Franklin investigates Mesmer- “Inquiring Mind,” PBS series

Inducing Trance (Basic overview of Charles Poyen’s introduction of mesmerism to America in 1830s. Traces lineage of mesmerism to spiritualism)

Reis, Benjamin. “The Springfield Somnambulist: Or, the End of the Enlightenment in America.” Commonplace, 4:2 (2004) (Skimmable article details rise and fall of mesmerism in America while telling the story of Jane Rider, a famous sleepwalker.)


Phrenology (Poe, Melville)

Article: Poe’s review of Miles’ Phrenology (1836)

Phrenology and the Fine Arts (images and an interactive chart explaining key phrenological terms)

The History of Phrenology on the Web, by Dr John van Wyhe (Note the site comes from the British Library. A useful resource, but be sure to differentiate between British and American publications or contexts.)

A list of other phrenology sites


Photography/Daguerreotype (Hawthorne, Holmes)

Secrets of the Dark Chamber: The Art of the American Daguerreotype

“The Soul’s Distinct Connection”: Emily Dickinson, Photography, and 19th-C American Culture


“Scientific” Theories on Race (TBA)

American Theories of Polygenesis

Article: Dana Nelson, "No Cold or Empty Heart": Polygenesis, Scientific Professionalization, and the Unfinished Business of Male Sentimentalism. differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 11.3 (1999) 29-56

Domestic Science (Gilman, Hawthorne short stories)

Beecher, Catharine, American Woman's Home


Miscellaneous Websites


Emily Dickinson Archive

The Life and Work of Herman Melville

The Edgar Allan Poe Society

Mark Twain in his Times

Walt Whitman Archive

Nineteenth-Century Periodicals

American Memory Project (broadsides, and other printed ephemera at the Library of Congress)

19th-Century Scientific American online (1845-1859)

Making of American Project
Description of project: "Making of America (MoA) is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology."

The University of Michigan MOA archives

Cornell University MOA archives

Virgo: You can also access many 19th-Century periodicals through Virgo.