Tag Archives: Charles Darwin

Charles & Emma Darwin: a typical Victorian marriage?

Kirstie Hampson recently completed a Graduate Certificate in History at Birkbeck, University of London, and used the Darwin Correspondence Project online archives while researching her dissertation; “Having access to such an amazing archive online made the research aspect much easier!”, … Continue reading

Lady Florence Dixie: a woman who had it all?

On October 29th 1880, Lady Florence Dixie wrote a letter to Charles Darwin from her home in the Scottish Borders; “Whilst reading the other day your very interesting account of A Naturalist’s Voyage round the world,” she said, “I came across a … Continue reading

What’s the difference between a peacock and a pocket flap?

Why do hats have hatbands? Why are there buttons on a cuff, or tails on a coat? What does a peacock have in common with a pocket flap? According to Charles Darwin’s son George, the answer to all these questions … Continue reading

The Public and Private Face of Mary Treat

Mary Treat was a Naturalist from New Jersey and a major contributor to botanical and entomological developments of the nineteenth century. Over the period 1871 – 1876 she exchanged fifteen letters with Darwin – more than any other woman Naturalist.   As … Continue reading

Darwin, Becker & Sexual Equality

Charles Darwin is not well known as a promoter of women’s rights. Indeed, much of his work explicitly opposed the arguments for sexual equality put forward by first wave feminists of the nineteenth century. In The Descent of Man, for example, Darwin makes … Continue reading

The Scent of Woman

In March 1872 Gaston de Saporta, a French paleobotanist, penned a letter to Darwin offering two pieces of evidence in support of Darwin’s theory on the common ancestry of man and ape.   The first point of similarity between the two … Continue reading

Darwin’s Invisible Workforce

Charles Darwin was not just a eminent Naturalist – he was also the head of a thriving family economy who drew on the help of his relatives at any (and, it seems, every!) opportunity. His eldest son, William, was regularly tasked with observing plants and … Continue reading

Burn After Reading

One question which arises a lot when sifting through Darwin’s letters is are we prying? Did Darwin and his correspondents consider their letters to be public objects or private exchanges intended only for the eyes of the sender and recipient in … Continue reading

The Darwins’ Christmas Fayre

Those of us who are planning a ‘double dip recession Christmas’ might find frugal inspiration in Emma Darwin’s traditional Victorian fayre. Over the course of her family life Emma Darwin noted down around forty recipes in her personal cookery notebook which … Continue reading

Keeping it in the Family

As suggested in an earlier blog post, Darwin was something of a reluctant bride groom. His chief concern about getting married and having children centred on the loss of freedom it would entail and, of course, the impact that this … Continue reading