Leila Holt Lomax.

Physiognomy : how to read character in the face and to determine the capacity for love, business, or crime online

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Leila Lomax



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I Physiognomy 5

II Utility of Physiognomy .... 15

III The Head and Face 20

IV The Forehead 41

V The Nose 48

VI The Eye 60

VII The Mouth and Lips 78

VIII The Ear 87

IX The Chin 96

X The Throat or Neck 101

XI The Skin 108

XII Gait AND Gesture no

XIII Classification OF Types 121

XIV Ten Examples i45

XV Index to Personal Characteristics . 160




History of the Science. — What it Aims to Accomplish. — Its
Accuracy. — General Principles of Physiognomy.

Physiognomy enables us to read the mind,
character and temperament from the form of a
man's features, the expression of his face, and the
form, attitudes and movements of his body.

It is the science which reduces to method the
means by which character may be determined,
and teaches us to form sound judgments by
eliminating all sentiment and fancy in our esti-
mates of men.

The sensation of attraction and repulsion is
constantly felt, but often with ignorance of the
cause, and with utter inability to support the in-
stinct with a logical reason.

A study of certain definite rules will enable us


6 Physiognomy

to prove the correctness or incorrectness of ovkf
impulses, and will save us many and grave mis-

These rules are not based on vague theories,
but are the result of the deductions and accumu-
lated experience of scientists for centuries. In
all times philosophers thought highly of this
science. The earliest known writers on the sub-
ject were Adamanthus, of whom we know little ;
and Melampus, the Egyptian, B. c. 270, who wrote
chiefly on physical deformities and their signifi-
cance. The next writer of importance was
Zopyrus, a contemporary of Socrates. His repu-
tation rests chiefly on his facial reading of
Socrates, which though harsh, was acknowledged
to be true by the subject himself.

lamblichus tells us that the Pythagoreans
thought so much of this science, that they would
admit none to their lectures unless they judged
from their whole external appearance that they
would be successful in learning.

Cicero mentions physiognomy as the art of
discerning the manner and disposition of men
by observing their bodily characteristics.

To Dalla Porta, in 1598, is due the honor of
practically laying the foundation of modern

Physiognomy 7

physiognomy. His work, " Delia Fisonomia delT
huomo," though able, is strongly impregnated
with the superstition of his age.

In 1780 a collection of the early Greek authors
on physiognomy was published at Altenburg,
Germany, and is still preserved under the title of
" Physiognomiae Yeteris Scriptores Graeci."

Lavater, a Swiss pastor, who wrote in 1741, is
still considered to be the greatest and certainly
the most prolific writer on physiognomy.
Thouo:h somewhat diffuse and lackino^ in
method, his mastery of his subject and the
beautiful drawings render the book of great

The next great step forward was taken in
180G, when Sir Charles Bell published his
" Anatomy of Expression." Till then the
muscles with regard to facial expression had
not been fully dealt with. In 1874, Duchenne
began his experimental study of physiognomy.
At first his ideas were not received with favor.
Many physiognomists showed distrust of a work
which reduced the study of physiognomy to an
exact science. Duchenne argued that in ph3'si-
ognomy neither fancy nor caprice nor inspira-
tion had any part, but that all is subject to exact

8 Physiognomy

and precise rules which form its language, though
possible combinations are many and varied. Each
muscle has an expression peculiar to itself, and is,
so to speak, one of the syllables or words in the
language of physiognomy. Like every other lan-
guage, physiognomy associates these syllables and
words to arrive at its expression.

Physiognomy is one of the most absorbing and
fascinating of studies. The closer our research,
the deeper our interest. It is the search-light
science supplies for the reading of the soul.
While its study trains our minds to habits of cor-
rect reasoning and exact observation, it also
teaches us a better understanding of the law of
cause and effect, thus engendering toleration and
sympathy for those morally and physically

It is practically the only study in which the
richest man has no advantage over the pauper.
Money is not a necessary aid. Education may
help with its development ; but experience, life
itself, is the only school in which a man can take
his final degree.

Certain natural qualities are necessary for the
study, which may be strengthened by practice.

The essentials are : 1st, observation ; 2d,

Physiognomy 9

reason ; 3d, deduction ; 4th, application, and
lastly, a great patience, for above all things a
hasty judgment must be guarded against.

Around us we have an unlimited supply of
subjects, no two of which are ever exact counter-
parts, for nature loves variety. If we seat our-
selves in a street car, or in a window overlooking
a crowded thoroughfare, an endless stream of
people passes before our eyes. Old and young —
intelligent and imbecile, each with a history and
probable destiny as plainly depicted on his face
as the buttons on his coat. It is to the features
we must look for knowledge of a man's character,
and for indications of his will power and reason-
ing faculties, to the imiscidar expression for his
present thought, the intensity of his past emo-
tions, and his control over them.

The face is but the background on which we
ourselves engrave our history. As the returning
ocean wave makes its impression little by little
on the shore, so every recurring emotion, with
its individual muscular movement finally leaves
on the countenance its ineffaceable mark. Nature
works slowly, but as the years pass on, we find
her handiwork has been sure. It is our own fault
if we have not learned to read her cipher. " The

lo Physiognomy

faculties of mankind should be cultivated so as
to enable them to judge of their welfare, and to
prevent them from being the dupes and slaves of

In the sixteenth centur}^ Montaigne wrote on
emotions thus: "You will make a choice be-
tween persons who are unknown to you, you
will prefer one to the other, and this not on
account of mere beaut}?^ of form. Some faces are
agreeable, some are unpleasant. There is an art
in knowing the look of good natured, weak
minded, wicked, melancholic, and other persons."
By reason of their expression the ugliest people
are often the most charming. Brightness and
animation will completely transform while speak-
ing, heavy features. Madame de Stael and Boi-
leau are both striking instances of the charm of
intelligent expression on a plain face. To obtain
a correct judgment, the physiognomist has to
study the face while in motion, as well as in
repose. He should be able to diagnose the char-
acter of a face as a physician does a disease. In
diagnosing insanity the eyes and mouth are con-
sidered the two most important features.

The celebrated Dr. Amariah Brigham was
once in the witness-box to give testimony as to

Physiognomy 1 1

the sanity of a prisoner held for murder, and an
interesting examination took place, which, bearing
as it does on physiognomy, I reproduce here by
the courtesy of the publishers of the " Outlook."

" The theory of the defense was insanity, and
the examination took a more practical form when
the counsel enquired as to the method pursued by
the witness in diagnosing insanity at sight. The
doctor replied that he relied on the features of
the patient, which he always attentively studied.

*' Which feature do you rely on in your diag-
nosis ? " queried the counsel.

" 1 rely on no one feature, but study them as a
group," was the answer.

" Do you rely on the chin ? "

'' No," he said.

" Do you rely on the nose ? "

'' Partly."

*' Do you rely on the ear ? "

"No," said the witness.

" Do you rely on the mouth ? "

" Very much," said the doctor.

" Do you rely on the eyes ? "

" Still more than on the mouth."

"If then the face of this prisoner were con-
cealed all but his mouth or his eyes, you affirm

12 Physiognomy

that you could decide accurately whether or not
he is insane ? '*

" No, I do not state that. I must see all the
features at once," was the reply.

At leno'th the attornev-oreneral exclaimed with


startling vehemence and emphasis on each word :
" AVhat ! Do you affirm that you can diagnose
insanity at sight ? "

" I do," was the calm, emphatic response.

" Point out then to the court and jury an insane
person in this building."

This challenge was the critical test of the
competency of the witness. Dr. Brigham ac-
cepted the challenge without a moment's hesi-
tation, and with an air of reserved confi-
dence. The spectators were awe stricken when
they realized that the crucial test was to be
applied to them. Dr. Brigham rose from his
chair very deliberately, and stood for a moment
surveying the people. Turning slowly to the
left or first tier of seats he began a deliberate
survey of the spectators, scanning the features of
each one with the apparent confidence that he
could detect the faintest trace of insanity. His
keen searching e\^es glanced from tier to tier of
seats. Five hundred faces had been scrutinized,

Physiognomy 1 3

and no group of individual features had responded
to the test. A greater earnestness and intensity
of scrutiny became apparent in the witness.
Deep furrows appeared on his pallid face, and
his eyes assumed a piercing brilliancy which
made every one shrink on whom his gaze was
momentarily fixed. Suddenly the wandering
eyes of the expert became fixed. His features
relaxed and assumed their customary impassive-
ness. Stretching out his long arm, and pointing
with his finger toward a person on one of the
rear tier of seats, he quietly said, ^' There is an
insane man." At the instant a man, as if struck
by a bullet, sprang wildly from his seat, and
gesticulating and shouting a volley of oaths
against any one who w^ould call him insane,
rushed down the aisle toward the bar.

The whole scene was intensely dramatic, and
the termination was a surprising ovation for the
triumphant actor Dr. Brigham. The man who
was pointed out as insane proved to be a harm-
less lunatic who had strayed into court.

The certainty and sureness with which the
doctor picked out his man in this instance, should
be at the command of every practiced physiogno-
mist. The face speaks always. With the same

14 Physiognomy

unerring precision, he should be able to place his
finger on the weak spot, — tlie dominant vice.

An absolutely unbiased mind is essential, free
from any feeling of like or dislike, or any im-
aginary aversion to a special feature. On first
attempting the study of the face, different features
will often appeal to present contradictory evi-
dence. This is unavoidable till the proper bal-
ance and proportion of the head is thoroughly
understood. It is only by study, perseverance,
and comparison that we can attain to a mastery
of this science.



How it Helps in Business and other Relations of Life. — Detection
of all Shams. — Successful Men Good Physiognomists.

There are few busy men and women who care
to spend time over a study, however interesting,
which will not repay them in some practical form.
If a successful business man were asked whether
he could read character from the features and
expression of the face, he would probably say,
" Well, I think I can size a man up well enough,
though scientifically I know nothing about it."

Most people have some degree of intuition,
and if in the habit of seeing numbers of men
daily, and transacting business with them, they
acquire, without any knowledge of physiognomy
as a science, a certain facility in deciphering
character. There are few men who would be
ready to own that they were deficient in the
power of reading men, but that their knowledge


1 6 Physiognomy

is very superficial and unreliable is evinced con

Do we not hear of and read daily in the
papers of trusted clerks and partners detected
in fraud, and clever men becoming the dupes of
plausible scoundrels?

It is impossible for a man to go through life,
without forming a certain idea in his own mind,
unconsciously, perhaps, of the kind of face he as-
sociates with honesty, integrity, good temper, in-
dustry, etc. In many cases his judgment is prob-
ably right. The danger lies in the fact that be-
ing guided by no definite rules, he is liable to be
misled by a sympathetic liking for an agreeable
expression and manner.

The averse person finds it difficult to associate
deception and insincerity with a frank, open bear-
ing and genial address, all of which can be su-
perficially acquired by the veriest rogue. It is
by their agreeable personality that most swindlers
thrive. It is frequently " the last person I should
have suspected," '' the one man we thought we
could depend on," who cause the bitterest disap-
pointment and loss. To the true expert in physi-
ognomy misfortunes of this kind are impossible.

Lines and features, which all see but do not

Physiognomy 1 7

need, speak to him not of dishonesty, but of the
inciting causes, greed, selfishness, and moral weak

We are all more or less governed by the sceptre
of beauty, and the moral worth of an ugly coun-
tenance rarely appeals to us. Moliere, Johnson,
Schopenhauer, Talleyrand, all suffered intensely be-
cause of their unpleasing exteriors. We have say-
ings and proverbs extolling goodness at the ex-
pense of beauty, but in reality, as we all find out,
a pleasing face has most of the odds in its favor.
Jurors have been biased, and judges influenced,
by a frank manner and pretty face. What man
is there who would readily believe wrong of a
woman with a pretty mouth, and lovely smiling

* ' Beauty itself doth of itself persuade
The eyes of men without an orator."

To all professional and business men a knowl-
edge of physiognomy is absolutely essential — to
the financier, the merchant, the statesman, the
physician, the law\'^er. It is a study which should
be approached without prejudice, with a clear and
logical mind to draw conclusions by a study of es-
tablished laws.

1 8 Physiognomy

We are all conscious that on looking at a face
for the first time we receive a distinct impression,
favorable or the reverse.

Lavater says "sometimes at sight of certain
faces, I felt an emotion which did not subside for
a few minutes after the object was removed."
With some this impression is very marked, with
others it is so slight as to be barely perceptible.

If we see any one in the street with any marked
peculiarity of feature, we notice it, because it of-
fends our sense of the usual. Its significance
with regard to character rarely troubles us. This
is natural, but when we have to select a man or
woman for any special work, either subordinate or
otherwise, it becomes absolutely necessary for us
to know the true character and fitness of the
person w^e are about to trust or take into our em-
ploy. Most of us are thrown daily and hourly into
contact with men of ev^ery kind of character and
disposition, and much of our fortune in life de-
pends on our association with them.

The men who have achieved success in life are
those who have been able instantly to grasp the
salient points in a man's character.

The late Mr. Whitney is a case in point, as he
is known to have been specially happy in the

Physiognomy 19

selection of his subordinates. Having once
judged that a man had the kind of ability re-
quired for a certain purpose, he would train him
with the greatest patience, until he finally
justified the original estimate of his capacity.
Intuition of this kind is somewhat rare, and
when possessed largely is certain to lead its
fortunate possessor to the top rungs of whatever
ladder he is endeavoring to mount. Every man
has his vocation, for which he is specially fitted
by nature, and the varieties of occupation in-
creaje yearly ; but how frequently we see round
men in square ^oles, who perform their work
with Jtpathy, because it is not suited to their in-
dividual temperament. There are men so gifted
that they are bound to come to the top in spite
of every obstacle, but the majority of people
require congenial w^ork to develop their finest
qualities. To know in what direction their
greatest talents lie, would be the salvation of



How to Study the Face. — The Relation of Character to Size
and Shape of Head. — Meaning ot Facial Proportions and other
Physical Characteristics, and Their Indications.

The human countenance is such a complex
study that in analyzing a face, the physiogno-
mist should be careful never to give a definite
opinion without having thoroughly examined all
the features individually, and also their relation
to each other. The slightest difference in the
position of any organ will alter the balance of
the face, and unless extreme caution is exercised,
even a trained eye may easily be deceived. IT
an analysis is made from a photograph, a
silhouette or photograph of the profile is neces-
sary as well as the full face.

In reading character from physical charac-
teristics the points to be observed should be
grouped as follows :

1. Proportion of head and body.


Physiognomy 21

2. Shape of head, and position.

3. Harmony and balance of the features.

(a) The lines and contour of the face, full and
three-quarter views.

(b) Also the curve and relations of the parts,
especially the eyelids viewed in profile.

4. Texture and color of the skin.

0. The features, commencing with the fore-
head, nose, eye, mouth, ear and neck.

6. Gestures and movements of the body.

In order to judge properly, and to apply the
proportions of the skull to the reading of char-
acter, we should note :

(a) The relation of size of the head to the

(h) The line from nose to crown of head.

(c) The cephalic index.

(d) The facial angle.

1. Shape and Size of the Skull in Rela-
tion TO Character.

The head, in spite of its bony substance, is
under the influence of a multitude of phenomena,
some its natural actions, and others of a more
indirect action, w^hich still leave the deepest im-



In the body, as in all forms of nature, we find
that a harmonious relation of parts is necessary
to a perfect whole. Proportion is but one mode
of expression of beauty, physical and mental.
Any one part or feature, if abnormally developed,
detracts from the uniform symmetry of the

In considering the head, we should ascertain
not only whether it is by its size in harmony
with the rest of the body ; but also the size,
and relation that each part of the skull bears to
the others.

The head should be neither too wide nor too
long (Fig 1). A very wide head indicates a
large development of the selfish propensities.

Fig I. Well balanced forelieafl. showinf!; energ}^
good ability, but not much imagiuation — a prac-
tical head.

Physiognomy 23

Too long, a lack of reasoning power. A very
bulky head denotes stupidity. A very small one

If we take three or four heads at hazard, and
examine their contour, we shall find immense
differences in size and shape. These differences
Yesult from the development or non-development
of the organs contained in the skull or cranium.

The skull consists of two parts very intimately
connected, the first part formed of flat bones
— the eranium, containing the brain, the organ
of intellect : the second inferior part formed oi
many ver}' complex bones, the /ace — the seat of
the organs of the senses.

Buchanan says: "The development of the
skull corresponds in general to the development
of the brain, and vrhere the brain is uniforndy
active in all its parts, the outline of the skull
will indicate the true outline of the character,
but in proportion as special organs have been
over active or torpid, the character will depart
from the outline of the cranium. This is most
often observed in criminals, and in the un-
educated and vicious, in the very old, and dis-
eased. In the young and healthy, and in those
of active well trained minds who have not been

24 Physiognomy

placed under any influence which might distort
the natural character, we observe the most per-
fect acordance of the skull and character. Gen-
erall}' speaking the greater the length of the head,
the greater the intellectual powers, while energy
and activity are indicated by the breadth.
Every noticeable concavity in the profile of the
head denotes weakness of mind, and of some
special organ.

The brain being susceptible of an indefinite
number of modifications, education and other
influences can change the form of the skull by
increasing or diminishing the various organs of
the head. In the animal world we see many
instances of special senses abnormally developed
for the purpose of self-preservation. In man the
senses are rarely possessed, if ever, by one person
in an equal degree of perfection. In the same
way no one is ever found universally talented.

Frequently the loss of one sense will render
the others more acute. A blind person will have
the senses of touch and hearing highly de-
veloped. The cultivation of any one sense is
injurious, " and the circumstance of being acutely
sensitive to one or two leading senses, may rule
the entire character, intellectual and moral."

Physiognomy 25

If any organ is unusually developed it is
necessarily at the expense of some other.
When we find a brilliant mind becoming the
dupe of some ignorant person, by reason of his
intense credulity, we trace the cause to the
irregular development of the organs of the head,
the non-development of the organs of sagacity
and common sense. A man brilliant in mathe-
matics is rarely known to excel in languages.
There are many instances of men taking honors
in classics, and yet being totally unable to
master a simple sum in fractions. If the region
of ideality is too highly developed, the subject
suffers correspondingly from a lack of practical

2. Kelation of Head to Body.

The height of the head varies from eight and
two-third inches to nine inches — the variations
never going below eight and one-fourth inches,
nor rising above nine inches. In circumference
the average adult head measures from twenty-one
to twenty-five inches. To measure a head : Take
the line round the centre of the forehead and the
most developed part of the back head. It is
necessary for the body to be of an adequate size



Head of Hermes, showing ideal (lieek proper tioui oi lie ad auo


Physiognomy 27

to support the head, otherwise the mental power
w411 suffer. A full sized healthy body is very es-
sential to the support of the brains. Malnutri-
tion will cause weakness of some organ which
will manifest itself in the character and disposi-

The weight and height of the body must there-
fore be noted. The right weight for a man whose
head measures twenty-four inches in circumfer-
ence should be 180 pounds. A woman whose
head is twenty-two inches in circumference should
weigh 130 pounds. Yitruvius considered the
right height of a head to be the eighth part of the
whole bod}', and this measurement is generally
taken to be approximately correct. The cele-
brated statue of the Dying Gladiator measures
eight heads, while the Apollo measures seven and
two-third heads, and the Antinous seven and one-
half heads. As the height increases the head be-
comes shorter.

3. The Line from Nose to Crown.

In order to show the relation that the form of
the head bears to intellect and morality, an im-
aginary line should be drawn (Fig. 2), dividing

1 3 4 5 6 7

Online LibraryLeila Holt LomaxPhysiognomy : how to read character in the face and to determine the capacity for love, business, or crime → online text (page 1 of 7)