Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/570

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570
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

CORRESPONDENCE.
 

MEN'S AND WOMEN'S BRAINS.

AN answer to Miss Helen H. Gardener and the "Twenty of the Leading Brain-Anatomists, Microscopists, and Physicians of New York."


Editor Popular Science Monthly:

Dear Sir: In the June number of the "Monthly" I find a communication entitled "Sex and Brain-Weight," signed Helen H. Gardener, and indorsed, as she says, by "twenty of the leading brain-anatomists, microscopists, and physicians of New York," which assumes to be in some measure a reply to my paper, in the April number, on "Brain-Forcing in Childhood." The tone of the letter is so bad, and it is written in so unscientific a spirit, that I have hesitated whether or not to notice it with an answer. But, lest silence should be held by some to imply that the assertions of the writer of the letter in question are entitled to weight, I have thought it better to ask the indulgence of a little space in your columns. I will premise by saying that I have no disposition to enter into a controversy on a subject that is at present, so far as I am concerned, of altogether secondary importance to the one to which my paper on "Brain-Forcing in Childhood" mainly relates, and that I shall not again in the present connection ask any similar favor at your hands.

With Miss Gardener's opinions of my antagonism to the female sex I shall not stop to argue. I have only to say that no one is more in favor than myself of woman's intellectual advancement, and that in all that I have said or done in recent years in relation to this subject I have recognized the natural equality of woman's brain with that of a man so far as mentality as a whole is concerned. I have only contended that her brain is different from that of man, and that a fortiori her mind must also be different. I am in favor of "girls and women" using all the means of development of which they can avail themselves, and which are of such a character as to fit them for the duties of their sex. I am very sure that in many respects—as, for instance, in the study of music, of painting, sculpture, literature, and many of the sciences—their opportunities are as great as those of men, and I regret that they have not made better use of them. I am opposed to their study of military science, or of such branches of knowledge as they are not likely to use in their lives, as a mere system of routine, just as I am opposed to similar procedures in boys.

Quoting from my paper, I repeat, "The skull of the male of the human species is of greater capacity than that of the female, and it is a singular fact that the difference in favor of the male increases with civilization."

Now let me bring forward some of the authorities for this statement in order that Miss Gardener may submit them to the "twenty of the leading brain-anatomists, microscopists, and physicians of New York," whoever they may be, who appear to have as little knowledge of the subject as she baa herself.

I may say that there is no authority known to anthropologists that denies that the capacity of the average male skull is greater than that of the female. Miss Gardener and the "twenty leading brain-anatomists," etc., have only to refer to the "Revue d'Anthropologie," tome ii, series 1873, No. 3, page 481, for citations on this point in regard to twenty six different nationalities, and in every one of them the difference is marked. Relative to the second assertion, that the difference is greater in the civilized than in the uncivilized nations, I find in that table that Huschke determined that in twenty-one German men the average capacity of the cranium was 1,538·76 cubic centimetres, while the average in eighteen German women was but 1,265·23 cubic centimetres, showing a difference of 273·53 cubic centimetres in favor of the male skull. In twenty-one male English skulls, Barnard Davis found the average capacity to be 1,595·33 cubic centimetres, while in eighteen female English skulls it was only 1,372·54 cubic centimetres, a difference in favor of the male skull of 272·79 cubic centimetres.

Looking now at the lower races, we see that Barnard Davis, in twelve male Australian skulls, found the average capacity to be 1,316·85 cubic centimetres, while in the skulls of three Australian women the average was 1,273.08 cubic centimetres, a difference of only 43·77 cubic centimetres. In nine male negroes of Dahomey, he found the average skull capacity to be 1,493·88 cubic centimetres, and of three female negroes 1,412·33 cubic centimetres, a difference of 81·55 cubic centimetres. I could easily quote other figures to a like effect, but the foregoing are sufficient to establish the correctness of my assertion. If Miss Gardener and the "twenty leading brain-anatomists," etc., desire further information on this point, I would refer them to the "Dei Carateri Sessuali del Cranio Umano,"