Origin is 157 years old. (Probably) the most famous book in science was published on 24 November 1859. To celebrate we have uploaded hundreds of new images of letters, bringing the total number you can look at here to over 9000 representing more than 2000 letters, written both before and after the book appeared. You can now see examples of letters to Darwin from nearly 250 different people, and letters he wrote to 150 more.
How do new species arise? This was the ancient question that Charles Darwin tackled soon after returning to England from the Beagle voyage in October 1836. Darwin realised a crucial (and cruel) fact: far more individuals of each species were born than could possibly survive.
‘I am getting sick of insectivorous plants’ Darwin confessed in January1875. He had worked on the subject intermittently since 1859, and had been steadily engaged on a book manuscript for nine months. January also saw the conclusion of a bitter dispute with the zoologist St George Jackson Mivart. In April and early May, Darwin was occupied with a heated debate over vivisection, and at the end of the year, he campaigned vigorously on behalf of a young zoologist, whose blackballing by the Linnean Society infuriated him: ‘I have not felt so angry for years.’
Read and search the full texts of more than 8,500 of Charles Darwin’s letters, and ﬁnd information on 6,500 more. Discover complete transcripts of all known letters Darwin wrote and received up to the year 1871.