skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

Historical documents

MS-DAR-00210-00011-000-00037-00001.jpg

Darwin’s observations on his children
Darwin’s observations on his children
CUL DAR 210.11: 37
Cambridge University Library

Darwin’s observations on his children

Charles Darwin’s observations on the development of his children,[1] began the research that culminated in his book The Expression of the emotions in man and Animals, published in 1872, and his article ‘A biographical sketch of an infant’, published in Mind in 1877.[2] The full text of the notebook is available below.

Read more

PR-Q-00900-00001-C-00002-000-00025_p423.jpg

Down House hothouse
Down House hothouse, engraving from Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, Jan. 1883
Q900:1.c.2.25
Cambridge University Library

Darwin’s hothouse and lists of hothouse plants

Towards the end of 1862, Darwin resolved to build a small hothouse at Down House, for ‘experimental purposes’ (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter to J. D. Hooker, 24 December [1862], and volume 10, letter to Thomas Rivers, 15 January 1863). The decision was evidently prompted by his growing engagement in botanical experimentation, and the building of the hothouse early in 1863 marked something of a milestone in Darwin’s botanical work, since it greatly increased the range of plants that he could keep for scientific investigations.

Read more

GRAY-A-01-01957.jpg

Asa Gray
Asa Gray
CUL DAR 257:109
Cambridge University Library

Review: The Origin of Species

- by Asa Gray

THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES BY MEANS OF NATURAL SELECTION

(American Journal of Science and Arts, March, 1860)

Read more

Essay: Evolution & theology

—by Asa Gray

EVOLUTION AND THEOLOGY

The Nation, January 15, 1874

Read more

Darwin’s student booklist

In October 1825 Charles Darwin and his older brother, Erasmus, went to study medicine in Edinburgh, where their father, Robert Waring Darwin, had trained as a doctor in the 1780’s. Erasmus had already graduated from Cambridge and was continuing his studies; his father thought that Charles, who was only sixteen and had not found his years at Shrewsbury School very enjoyable or profitable, would find the discipline of medicine more congenial.

Read more

MS-DAR-00225-000-00137.jpg

Charles Darwin (age 6) and his sister Catherine
Charles Darwin (age 6) and his sister Catherine. An Autotype Photogravure by Walker & Cockerell of a chalk drawing by Ellen Sharples
CUL DAR 225: 137
Cambridge University Library

Darwin on childhood

On his engagement to his cousin, Emma Wedgwood, in 1838, Darwin wrote down his recollections of his early childhood. 


Life. Written August–– 1838

Read more

Darwin-America.jpg

Darwin in America
Darwin in America
after CUL DAR 225: 175
Cambridge University Library

Darwin and religion in America

Thomas Dixon, 'America’s Difficulty with Darwin', History Today (2009), reproduced by permission. 

Darwin has not been forgotten. But he has, in some respects, been misremembered. That has certainly been true when it comes to the relationship between his theory and religion. Charles Darwin himself hated religious controversy. Creationism and ‘Intelligent Design’ are not evidence of some general and timeless antagonism between faith and reason. Rather, they are the products of a particular place and a particular time: the United States of America since the end of the Second World War.

Read more

WALLACE-A-R-02-04935.jpg

Alfred Russel Wallace
http://enriqueta.man.ac.uk/luna/servlet/s/6vu7ve
Alfred Russel Wallace
R8475
Copyright of The University of Manchester

Alfred Russel Wallace’s essay on varieties

The original manuscript about varieties that Wallace composed on the island of Gilolo and sent to Darwin from the neighbouring island of Ternate (Brooks 1984) has not been found. It was sent to Darwin as an enclosure in a letter (itself missing), and was subsequently sent by Darwin to Charles Lyell (letter to Charles Lyell, 18 [June 1858]). The only known version of the text is the one published in Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Zoology) 3 (1859): 45–62, and this text is reprinted below.

Read more

HUXLEY-T-H-01-02486.jpg

Thomas Henry Huxley
Thomas Henry Huxley, Vanity Fair, Jan 28th 1871
Cambridge University Library

British Association meeting 1860

Several letters refer to events at the British Association for the Advancement of Science held in Oxford, 26 June – 3 July 1860. Darwin had planned to attend the meeting but in the end was unable to. The most famous incident of the meeting was the verbal encounter between Samuel Wilberforce, bishop of Oxford, and Thomas Henry Huxley in a discussion of Darwin's theories. This account of the meeting has been drawn from the Athenæum, which provided the most complete contemporary report and which Darwin himself read.

Read more

MS-DAR-00006-000-00103.jpg

Darwin's draft outline of Species Theory, sent to Asa Gray in 1857
http://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/view/MS-DAR-00006/103
Darwin's draft outline of Species Theory, sent to Asa Gray in 1857
CUL DAR 6: 51-56
Cambridge University Library

Abstract of Darwin’s theory

There are two extant versions of the abstract of Darwin’s theory of natural selection. One was sent to Asa Gray on 5 September 1857, enclosed with a letter of the same date (see Correspondence vol. 6, letter to Asa Gray, 5 September [1857] and enclosure). It is in the hand of Ebenezer Norman, Darwin’s copyist and includes minor alterations and corrections by Darwin. The letter and enclosure are in Gray’s correspondence in the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University.

Read more