Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/275

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265
EDITOR'S TABLE.

tempts me to send you another curious illustration of how extraordinary geniuses in times past sometimes foreshadowed in their writings the marvels of a later era in the world's affairs. Of all the latest wonders of man's ingenuity, the phonograph would seem to be at least one that was not subject to the dictum of Solomon, "Nothing new under the sun"; and yet, a few months ago, while amusing myself with Cyrano de Bergerac's Histoire comique des États et Empires de la Lune et du Soleil (Paris, 1660), I was amazed to come across the matter quoted below, which surely foreshadows the phonograph as closely as do Bacon's words the steamship and railway.

The author (De Bergerac) is on a voyage over the moon. Left alone a little while by his guide, the latter gives him, to help him while away the hour, some books to read. The books, however, are different from any seen on earth. They are, in fact, little boxes, which Cyrano thus describes:

"On opening one of these boxes I found I know not what kind of metal (apparatus) similar to our clockwork, composed of I know not how many little devices and imperceptible machinery. It was a book, certainly, but a most marvelous one, which has neither leaves nor characters; a book to understand which the eyes are useless—one needs only use his ears. When one wishes to read this book he connects it by a sort of little nerve to his ears. Then he turns a needle to the chapter that he wishes to hear, and immediately there emerges from the instrument, as from the mouth of a man, or from a musical instrument, all the words and sounds which serve the Grands Lunaires for language."

I will say, further, that Cyrano anticipated many of the inventions and conceptions of modern aëronauts. No wonder that he was considered by his contemporaries as "somewhat off," or, as the French say, as a cerveau brulé.

Frank L. James, Ph. D., M. D.
St. Louis, February 28, 1895.
 


EDITOR'S TABLE.

 

THE GROWTH OF ANTHROPOLOGY.

WHEN in the seventies Prof. J. H. Gilmore introduced the study of anthropology into the curriculum of the University of Rochester he was probably the only instructor in the subject in America. Since then the science has made rapid progress. Agencies for its dissemination and the aid and encouragement of its students have greatly multiplied, so that to-day the science of Man is taught by specialists, and holds a prominent place in many of our leading educational institutions. Among these are the universities at Toronto, Worcester, Chicago, Cambridge, Philadelphia, Lewiston (Bucknell), and Washington (Columbian). Besides these, as Chamberlain has recently shown, teachers, mainly occupied with some other subject, also give instruction in anthropology at Yale, Leland Stanford, Western Reserve, Indiana, Oberlin,

Dartmouth, Bowdoin, Wisconsin, Brown, Illinois, City of New York, Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Vassar, Cornell, Lake Forest, Vermont, Kansas, Tufts, Minnesota, Michigan, and Ohio. To this considerable list should certainly be added Wellesley, and probably Union and Mississippi. The list grows, and only a few days since the University of California was announced to introduce anthropology among its subjects for teaching. At most if not all of the institutions where special teachers are engaged in the work there are laboratories for research and practice, and at least beginnings of museums. This is great progress for twenty years, and much more may be expected during the next decade. A subject so important must rapidly force itself into all the prominent institutions of higher learning.

The university instruction reaches