Asks to borrow J. J. Audubon [Ornithological biography (1831–9)].
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Sir
If ``Audubon's Ornith. Biography'' is in our Library, (5. vols.)—will you be so kind as to have it ready for Carrier tomorrow Thursday morning. I forget whether it is permitted to have 5 vols.; but if not, could you venture to break the rule & mention it to the Secretary, as I much want all vols. as I shall have to refer to them many times during next fortnight.—
Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin
If Carrier does not bring any vols. I shall understand you have it not.—
- f1 4159.f1The date range is conjectured from the stationery and from CD's request to consult Audubon 1831-- (see n. 2, below). The printed stationery on which the letter is written was in use between 1861 and 1869 (see Carroll ed. 1976, p. xxiii); 13 May fell on a Wednesday in only two years in that period, 1863 and 1868. Between 1 April and 16 June 1863 (see `Journal' (Correspondence vol. 11, Appendix II)), CD was writing a draft of the chapters on crossing and sterility for Variation (Variation 2: 85--191); Audubon 1831-- is cited in Variation 2: 154 and 157. Between 17 May and 26 December 1868, CD was working on the section of Descent (Descent 2: 38--238) that discussed sexual selection in birds (CD's journal (DAR 158)); Audubon 1831-- is cited extensively. CD made an unsuccessful attempt to purchase the book at the end of May 1868 (see letter from Williams & Norgate, 2 June 1868, Calendar no. 6222).
- f2 4159.f2Audubon 1831--. Fellows of the Linnean Society were allowed to borrow books from the society's library, with certain restrictions (List of the Linnean Society of London 1863); Kippist was the society's librarian (DNB). CD read Audubon 1831-- in December 1858 (Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV, 128: 22), and an abstract of the work is in DAR 71: 192--214. The annotated copy in the Darwin Library--CUL (see Marginalia 1: 21--3) appears to have been purchased after 1868 (see letter from Williams & Norgate, 2 June 1868, Calendar no. 6222).
- f3 4159.f3George Snow of Down operated a carrier service between London and Down every Thursday (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1862).
- f4 4159.f4George Busk was the zoological secretary of the Linnean Society (DNB).
- f5 4159.f5There was a copy of Audubon 1831-- in the Linnean Society's library in 1866 (Catalogue of the library of the Linnean Society).