Henrietta Emma Litchfield

1843–1927

CD’s daughter. Married Richard Buckley Litchfield in 1871. Assisted CD with his work. Edited Emma Darwin (1904) and (1915).

Sources: Burke’s landed gentry 1952, Correspondence Freeman 1978. (See the bibliography for full references to sources)

Further Information:

Henrietta “Etty” Darwin (1843-1927) was the eldest of Charles Darwin’s daughters to reach adulthood. She married Richard Buckley Litchfield in 1871. She was a valued editor to her father as well as companion and correspondent to both of her parents. Henrietta played a significant role in the continuing memorialization of both of her parents: she edited passages of The Autobiography of Charles Darwin (1887), as well as a collection of her mother’s private papers which were published as Emma Darwin, Wife of Charles Darwin: A Century of Letters (1904).

Although Henrietta was not afforded the formal schooling provided to her brothers, her keen editorial eye was sought after by her father for his scientific writing, particularly his 1871 work, The Descent of Man. In this Henrietta provided far more than grammatical assistance; Darwin asked her to help clarify and enliven his work. Though far less recognized by Victorian society for her intellectual worth than her father or brothers, Henrietta was an essential lynchpin in the Darwin circle, and helped anchor both the scientific and domestic activities of her family.

Relevant Gender Resources:

http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/women-and-science

http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/womens-scientific-participation

http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/gender-and-scientific-participation

Primary Sources:

Darwin Correspondence Database, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-7124

Darwin Correspondence Database, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-7112f

Secondary Sources:

Raverat, Gwen. Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood. London: Faber & Faber, 1960.

Burke’s landed gentry, 1952.