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Darwin Correspondence Project

Who we are

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DAR 219: 12
The Darwin family at Down House
Cambridge University Library

Many people have contributed to the Darwin Correspondence Project since it was first founded in 1974. Some names are now lost to us, and we would appreciate hearing from anyone who has contributed in the past and is not listed here.

Current staff are all based in Cambridge, UK, in the University Library and at the Department for the History and Philosophy of Science. We are:

Prof James A. Secord (Director)
Jim Secord has served as Director of the Darwin Correspondence Project since 2006. He is a fellow of Christ’s College, and Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge, and for 2013-15 was Head of Department. Besides his work for the Darwin Project, his research is on the history of science from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries, and he has published many articles and several books, including Controversy in Victorian Geology (Princeton, 1986) and editions of the works of Mary Somerville, Charles Lyell, and Robert Chambers. Victorian Sensation: The Extraordinary Publication, Reception, and Secret Authorship of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (Chicago, 2000), is an account of the public debates about evolution in the mid-nineteenth century, won the Pfizer Prize of the History of Science Society, and he has edited a selection of Darwin’s evolutionary writings in the Oxford World’s Classics series, which includes a fresh transcription of the autobiographical Recollections and responses to Darwin’s books from around the world. Most recently he published Visions of Science: Books and Readers at the Dawn of the Victorian Age (OUP, 2014).
 
Dr Alison Pearn (Associate Director)
Alison joined the Project in 1996. Her background is in history, with a BA from Oxford, and a PhD from Cambridge. She curated the University Library’s Darwin Bicentenary exhibition, and edited a companion book, A Voyage Round the World: Charles Darwin and the Beagle Collections of the University of Cambridge (CUP 2009). She is the author of Darwin: All that matters, published in 2015 by John Murray Learning, a short but comprehensive account of Darwin's life and ideas.  Alison is responsible for the day-to-day management of all aspects of the Darwin Project, including its outreach programme, gives both academic and popular lectures on its work, and has appeared on radio programmes such as BBC Radio 4’s In our Time, and Woman’s Hour.

Mrs Rosemary Clarkson (Research Assistant)
Rosy has a degree in Greek and Latin and is a trained archivist. In addition to assisting with research, she is the initial point of contact for the Project, answering a wide range of queries from academic colleagues and the public. She also keeps the office running, transcribes letter texts, researches obscure individuals mentioned in letters and helps maintain the research database.

Mr Andrew Corrigan (Production Assistant)
Andy has been working part-time for the Project since late 2011, coming from a background in archaeology he also has a particular interest in photography. He assists with the creation of web content in addition to sourcing, preparing and managing images both for print and the web. Andy also contributes to the project’s social media presence and has a particular responsibility for helping with our typesetting process.

Dr Samantha Evans (Editor and Research Associate)
Samantha joined the Project in 1997. Her background is in classics and publishing. In addition to research and editing, she copy-edits all editorial material, supervises the in-house production process, and liaises with CUP production editors.

Ms Shelley Innes (Editor and Research Associate)
Shelley’s background is in the history of zoology, but since joining the Project in 2000, she has become an enthusiastic follower of Darwin’s botanical work as well. Her favourite correspondent is Fritz Müller. In addition to general research and editing, she is the primary editor for German and Russian letters.

Dr Francis Neary (Editor and Research Associate)
Francis joined the Project in 2011. His research interests include history of modern medical technologies, history and philosophy of psychology (especially human consciousness and the self from the late 19th century), scientific biography and museology and the material culture of science and medicine. With John Pickstone and Julie Anderson, he is the author of Surgeons, Manufacturers and Patients: A transatlantic history of hip replacement (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2007). Francis has curated a number of exhibitions, including ‘Darwin the Geologist’ a permanent exhibit commissioned by the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, Cambridge, for the Darwin Bicentenary in 2009.

Dr Anne Secord (Editor and Research Associate)
Anne was trained in the history of science at London University. She rejoined the Project in October 2010 as an editor, having worked as assistant editor on the first seven volumes of Darwin’s correspondence. The focus of her research and writings has been on popular, particularly working-class, natural history in nineteenth-century Britain, and on horticulture, medicine and consumption in the eighteenth century. She is the editor of a new edition of Gilbert White’s Natural History of Selborne (OUP, 2013), and is completing a book to be published by the University of Chicago Press, that explores social class, observation, and skill in nineteenth-century natural history.

Ms Elizabeth Smith (Research Assistant)
Elizabeth has an MPhil in HPS from Cambridge and has worked for the Newton Project Canada. In addition to assisting with research and editing, she transcribes letter texts, and does most of the Project’s inhouse typesetting. She also helps promote the Project through social media.

Ms Sally Stafford (Education and Outreach Officer)
Sally worked with teachers and pupils at a range of secondary schools to develop our web-based teaching resources for 11-16 year olds. She contributed a chapter outlining the use of Darwin’s letters in the classroom to Darwin Inspired Learning (Sense Publishers, 2015). She is now working on resources for primary schools, families and informal adult learners. The letters provide many opportunities for cross-curricular study through the unique insight they offer of Darwin’s life and times. Sally has a background in the heritage sector in developing learning and interpretation resources for schools and families.

Dr Paul White (Editor and Research Associate)
Paul joined the Project in 1997. He regularly teaches in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science in Cambridge and has helped develop the Project’s teaching materials for schools and universities. His special interests include the history of the emotions, and the interface of science and literature. He is author of Thomas Huxley: Making the ‘man of science’ (Cambridge University Press, 2003), and various articles on science and Victorian culture.

The following are among those former staff and associates who have contributed to the work of the Darwin Correspondence Project since its inception in 1974:

  • Doris E. Andrews 
  • Geoff Belknap
  • Sarah Benton
  • Charlotte Bowman
  • Heidi Bradshaw
  • Pamela J. Brant 
  • Janet Browne
  • Anne Schlabach Burkhardt
  • Fred Burkhardt
  • P. Thomas Carroll
  • Finlay Clarkson
  • Stefanie Cookson 
  • Henry Cowles
  • Matthew Dawes
  • Sheila Ann Dean
  • Sophie Defrance
  • Mario Di Gregorio
  • Rhonda Edwards
  • Katie Ericksen Baca
  • Deborah Fitzgerald 
  • Kate Fletcher
  • Megan Formato
  • Hedy Franks
  • Jane Mork Gibson
  • Nick Gill
  • Ruth Goldstone
  • Philippa Hardman
  • Joy Harvey
  • Mike Hawkins
  • Arne Hessenbruch
  • Thomas Horrocks
  • Dorothy Huffman 
  • Rachel Iliffe
  • Andrew Inkpen
  • Zusana Jakubisinova Toci
  • Christine M. Joyner 
  • Thomas Junker
  • Rebecca Kelley
  • Joan W. Kimball 
  • Barbara A. Kimmelman 
  • David Kohn
  • Jyothi Krishnan-Unni
  • Sam Kuper
  • Kathleen Lane
  • Sarah Lavelle
  • Margot Levy
  • Robert Lindsey
  • Jean Macqueen
  • Nancy Mautner
  • Anna K. Mayer
  • William Montgomery
  • Eleanor Moore
  • Leslie Nye
  • Perry O’Donovan
  • Martin Oldfield
  • Muriel Palmer
  • Ann Parry
  • Myrna Perez Sheldon 
  • Stephen V. Pocock
  • Duncan Porter
  • John A. Reesman 
  • Marsha L. Richmond
  • Peter Saunders
  • Andrew Sclater
  • Tracey Slotta
  • Sydney Smith
  • Alison Soanes
  • Emma Spary
  • Nora Carroll Stevenson
  • Edith Stewart 
  • Jenna Tonn
  • Jonathan R. Topham
  • Charissa Varma
  • Tyler Veak
  • Ellis Weinberger
  • Béatrice Willis
  • Sarah Wilmot
  • Rebecca Woods

Between 2009 and 2013, supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation, we had a group of colleagues based in the History of Science Department, Harvard, under the direction of Professor Janet Browne. They were Geoff Belknap, Katie Ericksen Baca, Megan Formato, Andrew Inkpen, Myrna Perez Sheldon, Alistair Sponsel, Jenna Tonn, and Rebecca Woods. We are most grateful to the Department for providing space and facilities for the duration of the grants.

We are similarly grateful to Cornell University for providing office space and facilities to our colleague Sheila Ann Dean over a number of years.

The Darwin Correspondence Project is an independently funded research team, jointly managed by Cambridge University Library and the American Council of Learned Societies, and affiliated to the Department of History and Philosophy of Science in Cambridge.   

We locate and research letters written by and to the evolutionary scientist, Charles Darwin (1809–1882), and publish complete transcripts together with contextual notes and articles.  Darwin’s letters are an essential resource for understanding the development of his own ideas, and are an important source for the lives and work of more than 2000 correspondents and others mentioned in the letters. 

A 30-volume print edition of The Correspondence of Charles Darwin (Cambridge University Press, 1985–), will be completed in 2022, and will contain more than 15000 letters, around 9000 of which are in Cambridge University Library’s Darwin Archive.  The letters are made available to read and search on this website four years after print publication.  Images of original letters are being incorporated through collaboration with Cambridge Digital Library.