(Born: 1814 - Died: about
American mesmerist, phrenologist, lecturer, showman, and amateur
inventor. He was a self-described professor of Mesmerism and
Psychography. Among other inventions, he discovered a covering for
electic telegraph cables, a new method for crushing quartz, and an
improved breech loading canon. He engaged in a considerable amount of
experimenting with anethesia and "animal magnetisim."
He was born at St. Helier, Jersey, in England. His partents were Ann
Dujardin and Robert Mitchell Collyer. He studied phrenology in Paris
under Johann Gaspar Spurzheim. He later attended classes at London
University, although he apparently did not graduate. He emigrated to
the United States with his parents and siblings on March 21, 1836,
leaving from Liverpool and arriving in Philadelphia.
Ljungquist notes that Collyer appeared with "Monsieur De Bonneville . .
. as mesmeric performers, as reported in the 22 January 1842 Quarto
Boston Notion" (p. 196n25).
In 1838, his wife was found to have committed adultery with Captain
Marryatt, which resulted in a considerable scandal and the threat of a
duel. Although their marriage continued to suffer a number of
difficulties, they did not divorce, although he appears to have married
a second time in 1845, thus finding himself guilty of bigamy. (One of
these marriages was annulled in 1873.) He died in New Orleans, LA.
Among his various books and articles are:
- A Manual of Phrenology, or the Physiology of the Human Brain,
(various editions, first appearing in 1839, although the Library of
Congress lists an edition as New York, printed by J. Booth & Son,
- Lights and Shadows of American Life, Boston: Brainard &
Co., about 1838 (also New York: Burgess & Stringer, 1844)
- "Directions to Mesmerists," Mesmerism Magazine, vol. I,
July 1842, p. 14.
- Psychography, or,or, The Embodiment of Thought; with an Analysis
Phrenomagnetism, "Neurology," and Mental Hallucination, including Rules
to Govern and Produce the Magnetic State, Boston: Redding,
1843 (The Library of Congress and the New York Public Library
both list another edition as printed in the same year in Philadelphia
by Zieber & Co, and New York, office of The Sun)
- Mysteries of the Vital Element: In
Connection with Dreams, Somnambulism, Trance, Vital Photography, Faith
and Will, Anesthesia, Nervous Congestion and Creative Functions:
Modern Spiritualism Explained, London: Henry Renshaw, 1871
- Automatic Writing: The Slade Prosecution: Vindication of the Truth,
London: H. Vickers, 1876
- Early History of the Anaesthetic Discovery, London: H.