Darwin Correspondence Project

On this site you can read and search the full texts of more than 7,500 of Charles Darwin’s letters, and find information on 7,500 more. Available here are complete transcripts of all known letters Darwin wrote and received up to the year 1869.
More are being added all the time.


  • Anelasma squalicola - note the small cirri & the root-like filaments on the peduncle (Adapted from fig. 2 & 3, Pl. IV, Cirripedia by Charles Darwin. Source: Biodiversity Heritage Library/MBLWHOI Library)

    Blistering Barnacles – by post!

    Posted on August 27th, 2014 in Natural Selections

    The Natural History Museum of Denmark has just discovered a collection of barnacles sent by Charles Darwin to Japetus Steenstrup in 1854 as a thank you gift – a “very inadequate return” (Letter 1589, 7 Sept [1854]) – for the many cirripede specimens that Steenstrup had sent him. Among these was one which turned out [...]

  • Thomas Rivers letter, image courtesy of the owner

    Featured Correspondent: Thomas Rivers

    Posted on August 12th, 2014 in Natural Selections

    The Project was recently contacted by the owner of an important Darwin letter that contains a rare instance of the key expressions “natural selection” and “struggle for existence” in correspondence. The letter was addressed to Thomas Rivers, a nurseryman in Hertfordshire and a leading authority on roses and fruit trees. Darwin initiated the correspondence in [...]

  • Sugar Loaf, Rio, MS ADD 7983 5r, © Cambridge University Library

    Darwin’s injury time in Brazil

    Posted on July 4th, 2014 in Natural Selections

    When the US football team lost to Belgium in the stadium in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, they could have consoled themselves with the reflection that Darwin didn’t altogether enjoy it either.   Bahia was the place where he first set foot on South American soil when HMS Beagle landed there in February 1832, but a knee injury [...]

  • Vanessa

    Darwin, sex, and gender

    Posted on July 3rd, 2014 in Natural Selections

    We are very pleased to be able to feature four new student projects created using our ‘Darwin and Gender’ university teaching resources.  The resources were developed in collaboration with Prof. Sarah Richardson at Harvard who has used them for the past three years in her ‘Gender, Sex, and Evolution’ course, and bring together Darwin’s fascinating [...]

  • Darwin playing Ice Hockey

    Hockey night in…Shrewsbury?

    Posted on May 30th, 2014 in Natural Selections

    This week, a bombshell rocked the world of winter sports – hockey is, apparently, not from Canada. What drew our attention to this revelation is a letter from Charles Darwin used as evidence for the game’s roots in England. With several Canadians working on the Darwin Correspondence project, we were intrigued by the notion that [...]