Tag Archives: Gender

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

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

Women and Science, Past and Present

International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women, particularly those who have struggled to participate in society on an equal footing with men. Darwin’s correspondence is a rich source of evidence of extraordinary women who did just that; from international travellers and diamond prospectors to … Continue reading

Monkeys, Gingerbread and Latin

A summary of our content so far, Wordle-style!     Posted by Philippa Hardman

Dawkins, Darwin and friends

In an article and book review published in The Guardian in 2003, Richard Dawkins excitedly reported that “an obscure letter in a library” suggested that Charles Darwin was the forefather not only of the theory of evolution but also of modern genetics. The … Continue reading

Science – no job for a lady!

Darwin’s female correspondents give us a glimpse of just how many Victorian women were involved in scientific projects. They may have seen themselves as enthusiastic amateurs but the letters show that they carried out valuable observations and experiments in their own … Continue reading

The Darwin and gender project goes transatlantic!

Our research into Mary Treat has been given a boost in the form of associate professor of nineteenth-century science and Mary Treat expert Tina Gianquitto of the Colorado School of Mines who has generously offered us her help.  In collaboration with both our Cambridge and … Continue reading