skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Paolo Mantegazza1   4 May 1872

Florence

4 Mai 1872—

Illustre Monsieur.

J’ai l’honneur de vous annoncer que dans une de ses dernières seances la Société Italienne d’Anthropologie et d’ Ethnologie vous a acclamé à son Membre honoraire, et que vous en recevrez sous peu de temps le diplome.2

J’ai reçu la dernière édition de votre immortel ouvrage sur l’origine de l’espèce.3 Mille et mille fois merci de l’honneur que vous avez voulu me faire. Je le garderai comme un de mes plus chers souvenirs.

Vous recevrez quelques unes de mes brochures anthropologiques: j’appelle votre attention sur les deux cas de dents surnumeraires observés par moi, dont un dans un nègre. (Brochure verte. pag. 23).4

Dans l’étude de mon index cephalospinal et cephalorbitaire, c’est à dire sur le rapport du volume de la moelle épinière et des orbites avec la capacité du crâne vous trouverez des singuliers rapprochements entre les singes et l’homme   Je m’occupe maintenant de la mesuration des fosses nasales, qui vient de m’être rendue possible par un ingenieux instrument inventé par Mr Broca. En sommant le volume des fosses nasales et celles des orbites je pense êtablir l’index prosopocephalique c’est à dire le rapport entre les cavités des sens et la cavité du crâne; et je crois que j’aurai un moyen plus scientifique pour établir la yerarchie d’un crâne qu’avec l’angle facial et l’angle sphénoidal.5

Pour votre election sexuelle je vous prie de lire mon mémoire sur les Caractères sexuels du crâne humain, dans le quel je veux demontrer que le developpement des arcades supraorbitaires est le caractère plus masculin du crâne humain.

Je viens de trouver un crâne de negre dinka avec un seul os nasal.6 Dans deux autres crânes de la même race il y a une grande tendance à la fusion des deux os & dans un seul. On dirait que l’un est avorté. J’ai observé le même fait dans un crâne très simien de la Sardaigne.— Dans trois crânes de la Nouvelle Zelande l’os intermaxillaire est bien defini, et se separe par une veritable suture incomplete de l’os maxillaire. Je vais publier ces faits, mais j’ai voulu les annoncer au grand pontife de la science nouvelle.7 J’espère que vous pouvez les ajouter aux autres semblables dans une seconde edition de votre dernier ouvrage.8

Vos idées marchent en Italie, et bien vite. On ne contraste que votre election sexuelle, pour la quelle je n’ai pas pu me convertir même avec votre dernière lettre.—9

Aimez moi, comme je vous [aime].—

Votre admirateur et ami | Prof. Paul Mantegazza | President de la Societé italienne d’anthropologie etc.

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Correspondence vol. 20, Appendix I.
For the diploma, see Correspondence vol. 20, Appendix III.
There are three essays by Mantegazza, printed continuously and bound in green paper, in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL; their titles are: ‘Dei caratteri sessuali del cranio umano’ (Sexual characteristics of the human skull), ‘Il cranio di una donna microcefala e quello di una donna imbecile’ (The skull of a microcephalous woman and an imbecile woman), and ‘Due casi di denti sopranumerarii nell’uomo’ (Two cases of supernumerary teeth in humans). The pages are not all cut, but there is an annotation by CD on page 16 (the conclusion) of the first article and another on the outside cover. The articles were originally published in Archivio per l’Antropologia e la Etnologia 2 (1872): 11–34. No other 1872 articles by Mantegazza have been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL.
Paul Broca invented at least twenty-seven instruments for the study of craniology (DSB). In Revue d’anthropologie 1 (1872): 3–4 and 35 Broca describes and provides an illustration of a sliding calliper that he used for measuring the nose. Mantegazza’s publications on this subject were Mantegazza 1870a, 1871, 1872a, and 1873.
The Dinka are the largest ethnic group in South Sudan (Appiah and Gates 2005).
Mantegazza published his research in Mantegazza 1873.
Mantegazza refers to Descent: a second edition was published in 1874, but it did not cite Mantegazza’s new work on human skulls.
CD’s letter to Mantegazza has not been found.

Bibliography

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

DSB: Dictionary of scientific biography. Edited by Charles Coulston Gillispie and Frederic L. Holmes. 18 vols. including index and supplements. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1970–90.

Mantegazza, Paulo. 1873. Della capacità delle fosse nasali e degli indici rinocefalico e cerebrofacciale nel cranio umano. Rendiconti dell’Istituto Lombardo di Scienza e Lettere: Classe di Scienze Matematiche e Naturali 2d ser. 6: 499–504. [Also in Archivio per l’Antropologia e la Etnologia 3 (1874): 253–74.]

Origin 6th ed.: The origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 6th edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

Translation

From Paolo Mantegazza1   4 May 1872

Florence

4 May 1872—

Most renowned Sir.

I have the honour of informing you that in one of its recent sessions the Italian Society of Anthropology and Ethnology has proclaimed you an Honorary member, and that you will shortly be receiving its diploma.2

I have received the latest edition of your immortal work on the origin of species.3 A thousand thanks for the honour you have done me. I shall keep it as one of my dearest souvenirs.

You will be receiving some of my anthropological pamphlets: may I draw your attention to the two cases of supernumerary teeth I have observed, one of which was in a negro. (The green pamphlet. pag. 23).4

In the study on my cephalospinal and cephalorbital index, that is to say on the relations between the volume of the spinal cord and orbits and cranial capacity, you will find singular resemblances between monkeys and man   I am now occupying myself with the measurement of the nasal fossae, which has just been made possible for me by an ingenious instrument invented by Mr Broca. By adding the volume of the nasal fossae to that of the orbits, I hope to establish a prosopocephalic index, that is to say the relation between the sensory cavities and the cranial cavity; and I think I will thereby have a more scientific means of establishing the hierarchy of a skull than with the facial angle and the sphenoidal angle.5

For your sexual selection, I beg you will read my memoir on the Sexual characteristics of the human skull, in which I attempt to show that the development of the supraciliary arches is the most masculine character of the human skull.

I have just found a skull from a Dinka negro with a single nasal bone.6 In two other skulls from the same race there is a great tendency for the two bones to be fused and in one of them one would say that one of the bones is vestigial. I have observed the same fact in a very simian skull from Sardinia.— In three skulls from New Zealand, the intermaxillary bone is well defined, and separated from the maxillary bone by a genuine incomplete suture. I shall publish these facts, but I wanted to announce them to the great pontiff of the new science.7 I hope that you will be able to add them to other similar ones in a second edition of your latest work.8

Your ideas are progressing in Italy, and quickly too. Only your sexual selection is being opposed, to which I have not been able to convert even after your last letter.—9

Love me as I love you.—

Your admirer and friend | Prof. Paul Mantegazza | President of the Italian Society of Anthropology etc.

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original French, see pp. 181–2.
For the diploma, see Correspondence vol. 20, Appendix III.
There are three essays by Mantegazza, printed continuously and bound in green paper, in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL; their titles are: ‘Dei caratteri sessuali del cranio umano’ (Sexual characteristics of the human skull), ‘Il cranio di una donna microcefala e quello di una donna imbecile’ (The skull of a microcephalous woman and an imbecile woman), and ‘Due casi di denti sopranumerarii nell’uomo’ (Two cases of supernumerary teeth in humans). The pages are not all cut, but there is an annotation by CD on page 16 (the conclusion) of the first article and another on the outside cover. The articles were originally published in Archivio per l’Antropologia e la Etnologia 2 (1872): 11–34. No other 1872 articles by Mantegazza have been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL.
Paul Broca invented at least twenty-seven instruments for the study of craniology (DSB). In Revue d’anthropologie 1 (1872): 3–4 and 35 Broca describes and provides an illustration of a sliding calliper that he used for measuring the nose. Mantegazza’s publications on this subject were Mantegazza 1870a, 1871, 1872a, and 1873.
The Dinka are the largest ethnic group in South Sudan (Appiah and Gates 2005).
Mantegazza published his research in Mantegazza 1873.
Mantegazza refers to Descent: a second edition was published in 1874, but it did not cite Mantegazza’s new work on human skulls.
CD’s letter to Mantegazza has not been found.

Bibliography

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

DSB: Dictionary of scientific biography. Edited by Charles Coulston Gillispie and Frederic L. Holmes. 18 vols. including index and supplements. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1970–90.

Mantegazza, Paulo. 1873. Della capacità delle fosse nasali e degli indici rinocefalico e cerebrofacciale nel cranio umano. Rendiconti dell’Istituto Lombardo di Scienza e Lettere: Classe di Scienze Matematiche e Naturali 2d ser. 6: 499–504. [Also in Archivio per l’Antropologia e la Etnologia 3 (1874): 253–74.]

Origin 6th ed.: The origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 6th edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

Summary

CD has been elected Honorary Member of Società Italiana di Antropologia e di Etnologia.

Cranial measurements connect man and apes.

He has shown differences between male and female skulls that bear on sexual selection.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-8311
From
Paolo Mantegazza
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Florence
Source of text
DAR 171: 38
Physical description
3pp (French)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8311,” accessed on 12 December 2019, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-8311.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20

letter