formerly Shakespeare and Company Books, now VIcarious Experience

Vaughts Practical Character Reader. 1902

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Vaughts Practical Character Reader by L.A. Vaught. L.A. Vaught Publisher. 1902. 257 pages. Illustrations on practically every page. Hardcover with no dust jacket. Some cover edge wear. Some mottling on the cover ink. Gilt lettering on spine and front cover has faded, but still legible. Dust soiling on the top of the page block. A bit of looseness to the first gathering of pages. Otherwise no previous owner markings. No folds, creases or tears to pages. Not ex-library, not remaindered, not a facsimile reprint. For sale by Jon Wobber, bookseller since 1978. CI07a

"Meet Louis Allen Vaught. He was born in 1859, and his masterpiece, Vaught's Practical Character Reader, was self-published in 1902. The physical address of his “publishing company” was also, according to these advertisements, home to the dubious sounding Human Science School and the Chicago Institute of Phrenology.

Vaught was a physiognomist. Physiognomy had been a “science” since ancient Greece, and it waxed and waned in popularity over the millennia until the 20th century. Those who believed in it sought to sum up the soul and strengths of a person simply by looking at their physical characteristics—to apply structure to the natural instinct to judge on appearance, which humans have always done and likely will always do. (The slope of a brow suggests criminal inclinations, the cut of your nose indicates your suitability as a good accountant.) Vaught identified around 40 “Elements of Human Nature,” such as suavity, alimentiveness, and approbativeness. To each of these Elements, there is a corresponding head or facial feature."