Wilder Brain Collection

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The Wilder Brain Collection is a collection of brains maintained by the Cornell University Department of Psychology. The collection was created by professor of anatomy, Burt Green Wilder. Wilder founded the Cornell Brain Society in 1889 to collect the brains of "educated and orderly persons." He believed that much could be learned about psychology from studying the anatomy of the human brain. At its height, the collection contained over 600 and even as many as 1,200 brains and parts of brains.[1] By the 1970s the collection had been neglected and enthusiasm for brain collecting had dimmed.[2] The university culled the collection to 122 specimens.

Part of the collection is on display in Uris Hall on the Cornell campus. Brains on display include those of several notable individuals:

  • Edward H. Rulloff, a philologist and murderer who possessed one of the largest recorded brains.

The collection also includes a piece of a pumpkin that was placed on the spire of McGraw Tower in 1997.[3]


  1. ^ http://www.news.cornell.edu/STORIES/MAY06/WILDER.BRAINS.SSL.HTML
  2. ^ Edidin, Peter (24 May 2005). "In Search of Answers From the Great Brains of Cornell". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ Goldstein, Dan (16 November 2007). "Roaming the Hill: C.U. History Through C.U. Brains". Ithaca, NY: Cornell Daily Sun. Retrieved 8 May 2009.