Agnes Sillars Hamilton

Agnes Hamilton née Sillars (born c. 1794, died Edinburgh 22 October 1870) was a Scottish reformer, public lecturer and phrenologist who argued for women's right to an education which promoted gender equality.[1]

Agnes Sillars Hamilton
Born
Agnes Sillars

1790s
Died22 October 1870
NationalityUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Known forPhrenology
Spouse(s)Edward Hamilton
ChildrenArchibald Sillars Hamilton
Phrenology, the study of human characteristics according to shape of the skull
Phrenology, the study of human characteristics according to shape of the skull

LifeEdit

She was born in about 1794 and her parents were Jane (born MacDougall) and Archibald Sillars. In 1819 married Edward Hamilton and they had a son, Archibald Sillars Hamilton.[2]

She comes to notice in 1832 when she was known as a lecturer on politics. By 1836, she was being described by the Leeds Times as a 'phenomenon in politics'.[1]

She gave public lectures on phrenology, religious liberty as a right, and on women's right to an education which promoted gender equality.[1]

By the 1840s she was reported as dealing in "practical phrenology".[3] Hamilton would use a group of marbles to illustrate the principles of phrenology.[2] Over fifteen years she said that she had analysed the heads of 60,000 people as she toured throughout Britain and Ireland. Where she gathered interest she would spend some months in that town but in other cases she would quickly move on.[3]

She was well received but she was not able to retire and she attracted varying reviews from acknowledged phrenologists George Combe and Andrew Combe[3] of the Edinburgh Phrenological Society. One account notes her as a "dirty old wench".[4]

Her son Archibald Sillars Hamilton was a phrenologist in his twenties and he left for Australia in 1854 where he continued that profession.[4] Archibald was given the head of Ned Kelly after his death and he published an account of the skull's phrenology.[2]

Hamilton died in Edinburgh in 1870.[3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c The new biographical dictionary of Scottish women. Elizabeth Ewan. Edinburgh. 2018. p. 184. ISBN 978-1-4744-3629-8. OCLC 1057237368.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ a b c "Getting a head". Portrait magazine. Retrieved 2019-06-28.
  3. ^ a b c d The new biographical dictionary of Scottish women. Ewan, Elizabeth. Edinburgh. ISBN 9781474436298. OCLC 1057237368.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  4. ^ a b Alexandra Roginski (9 June 2015). The Hanged Man and the Body Thief: Finding Lives in a Museum Mystery. Monash University Publishing. pp. 38–. ISBN 978-1-922235-66-4.