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Black Hawk (1768–1838)

Object Name: Death mask or life mask
Date: ca. 1838
Related People:
Medium: Painted plaster
Dimensions: Overall: 12 1/4 × 7 × 8 1/2 in. (31.1 × 17.8 × 21.6 cm)
Description: Portrait head
Credit Line: Purchase
Object Number: 1946.360
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Marks: Paper tape inscribed: "BLACK HAWK-INDIAN CHIEF OF THE "SAC + FOX" TRIBE BORN -1768-died October -3-1838 IMMENSE PERCEPTIVE. LARGE LOCALITY AND EVENTUALITY"; small label on inside inscribed: "Black Hawk head 16-83"

Gallery Label:

This cast was part of the Phrenological Museum of Fowler & Wells, which opened in New York City in 1842. Brothers Orson Squire Fowler (1809-1887) and Lorenzo Niles Fowler (1811-1896) and their business associate Samuel Roberts Wells (1820-1875) were noted phrenologists who read heads to understand the subject's "temperament." Their Phrenological Cabinet displaying casts, skulls, and charts became a popular fixture in the city.


The Fowler Mask Collection; Furniture and Decorations, Kende Galleries at Gimbel Brothers, New York, September 20-21, 1946; purchased by New-York Historical Society, 1946.