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MARSHALL, William Elliot

A Phrenologist amongst the Todas or the Study of a Primitive Tribe in South India. History, Character, Customs, Religion, Infanticide, Polyandry, Language.
London, Longmans, Green & Co., 1873.

Some of the earliest field photography ever – first edition. – ”The Todas, a small tribe of buffalo pastoralists living on the Nilgiri Hills in southern India, were already known to scholars through two remarkable ethnographies by Breeks and Marshall, both published in 1873, and both including some of the earliest field photography ever to illustrate an anthropological work” (Edwards). The photographs in the present work were made by the well-known firm of Bourne & Shepherd of Simla and Nicholas and Curths of Madras. There are 14 plates printed in carbon by the Autotype Fine Art Co. Two are credited to Bourne & Shepherd; the others unsigned. They are all strong images taken from life. Aside from their value as anthropological documents, they are interesting as photographs as they combine the exotic appeal of the primitive and beautiful Todas with the careful vision of the recording scientiest. The author, William Marshall, was a Lieut. Col. of Her Majesty’s Bengal Staff Corps. ”. . . a particularly effective illustration of how photography could serve the needs of phrenology and physiognonomy as applied to racial types . . .” (Martin Kemp in Beauty of Another Order, Photography in Science).

Collation: Pp xx, 271. Title in red and black. 26 illustrations including one map and 14 autotype plates from photographs.

Binding: Later brown half calf with five raised bands. Gilt spine title and marbled boards.

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