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Darwin Correspondence Project

To R. F. Albrecht   16 October [1871]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Oct 16

Dear Sir

I am much indebted to you for your kindness in writing to me & sending me the extracts.2 I formerly collected a good many facts bearing on the subject to which you refer, & have briefly touched on the subject in my Variation of Animals under Domestication Vol. 2. Chapt 22. p. 264.—3 I have there just alluded to my reasons for not believing that actual resemblances can thus originate, though of course I do not wish to deny that a strong mental shock, like any bodily injury, may cause an arrest of development in the embryo & thus induce various monstrosities.

With my thanks | I beg leave to remain | Dear Sir | Yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from R. F. Albrecht, 13 October 1871.
CD discussed the effects of maternal imagination on the foetus in Variation 2: 264.


Thanks RFA for extracts.

Does not believe resemblances can be produced as RFA suggests, but would not deny that a strong mental shock may cause arrest of embryonic development and thus give rise to monstrosities.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
R. F. Albrecht
Sent from
Source of text
Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig, Sondersammlungen, Sammlung Nebauer
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8014,” accessed on 24 May 2018,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19