RECORD: Darwin, C. R. n.d. Abstract of Francis Lieber, On the vocal sounds of Laura Bridgeman. CUL-DAR195.1.45.  Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 5.2022. RN1

NOTE: See record in the Darwin Online manuscript catalogue, enter its Identifier here. Reproduced with permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin. The volume CUL-DAR195 contains materials for Darwin's book Expression of the emotions (1872) organised roughly as: DAR195.1 blushing. DAR195.2 astonishment, fear. DAR195.3 indignation, rage, screaming, etc. DAR195.4 laughter, frowning, introduction.

Darwin cited this in Expression, footnotes on pp. 198, 214, 275, 277, 285, 287 and 311.

"F. Lieber on the vocal sounds of L. Bridgman, 'Smithsonian Contributions,' 1851, vol. ii."

This document is in the hand of Emma Darwin.


Fr. Lieber On the vocal sounds of Laura Bridgeman in Smithsonian Contributions. Vol 2. 1851 p

p. 6. L. blushes, shivered when speaking of a cold bath.

p 7 — "When L. is astonished, or amazed, she rounds & protrudes her lips, opens them, breathers strongly, spread her arms, & turns her hands with extended fingers upwards, just as we do when wondering at something very uncommon.

p 11. L. "constantly accompanies her Yes with the common affirmative nod; & her


no with our negative shake of the head!! Remarks these gestures certainly not acquired. "The Italians move repeatedly the lifted digit from right to left, as a sign of negation, while the modern Greeks throw back the head, producing at the same time a clucking noise with the tongue".

p 14 "Disgust, mingled with contempt, is expressed by all men by a symphenomenon, which consists of a sharp exhalation of the sound F which is the combined effect of the lower lip being somewhat protruded, while the upper one is contemptuously drawn up, & the breath is strongly altered.

p. 30. "When I read yr last letter to her the colour mounted to her cheek, she laughed & clapped her hands." 

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File last updated 25 September, 2022