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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/293

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287
GENIUS AND HAIR-COLOR

in this field—announces it as his opinion, in the Medical Record for August 7, 1909, that in America, at least, "the criminal is more often fair than dark." This but gives point to the observation of Ellis that "to the existing statistics of the color of hair among criminals, taken as a whole, it is not possible at present to attach much value. There is no uniform system of description or nomenclature; it is difficult to make full allowance for ethnic divergence and there rarely exists an adequate standard of comparison for normal persons of corresponding race."

It is, however, not in the use of the hair as a social and religious symbol, nor in its aspect as a mark of race or token of criminality that the inquiry in hand makes its highest appeal. It is in the relation of the form and color of the hair to talent and genius that the absorbing interest of this subject lies. Is it the light-haired or the dark-haired person who is likeliest to display marked power of intellect? Does straight or spiral hair point most often to capacity? Do soft and stiff hair speak the same or a varying message as to the character and mental endowments of the owner?

Upon this phase of the subject the decisive testimony must come from the pages of biography. Nothing less than a test of the question by the facts of life may fairly make a claim upon our time and attention. True it is that biographers have not always preserved for us these details of physiognomy, nor do biographers of the same individual always agree as to the points of figure and feature; yet enough exists that is authentic to serve as a basis for a few modest generalizations.

Seeing the predominance of blue and gray and bluish-gray eyes among persons of distinction, as determined in the discussion of physiognomy as related to genius in the February issue, 1911, of this magazine, it might have seemed just to expect that the hair-color of eminent men would be fair. In reality, however, the case is otherwise. The hair-color of celebrated personages, in so far as the result of our investigation may justify us in speaking, has usually been dark.

Classified as "dark" we find the hair of Browning, Rufus Choate, Alexander Dumas the elder, fm. Hazlitt (another authority says black) Washington Irving (other authorities say "chestnut brown"), Landor, Francis Parkman, Rossetti, R. L. Stevenson, Martin Van Buren, Tennyson and Mendelssohn, the hair of the last being almost black.

As possessed of black hair we have the names of Matthew Arnold, S. T. Coleridge, Stephen A. Douglas, Sir Thomas More (black shot with yellow), Wm. Hazlitt (another authority says "dark"), Leigh Hunt (shining black), Ibsen, Paul Jones, Charles Lamb, John Marshall, Washington Alston, Daniel Webster, J. G. Whittier, Sir Arthur Sullivan.

Given as brown we have the hair of William Cullen Bryant (dark