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Darwin Correspondence Project

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Elizabeth Garrett Anderson
http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw82300/Elizabeth-Garrett-Anderson?
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, by Walery, published by Sampson Low & Co, carbon print, published February 1889, NPG x8446
mw82300
© National Portrait Gallery, London

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

Elizabeth Garrett was born in Whitechapel, London. She was initially educated at home but at 13 sent to boarding school. She was always interested in politics and current affairs but decided to pursue a career in medicine at a time when women were excluded from formal medical training.

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Lydia Ernestine Becker
Lydia Ernestine Becker, The Graphic, Jan 1874, p44
CUL NPR.c.53
Cambridge University Library

Lydia Becker

Becker was a leading member of the suffrage movement, perhaps best known for publishing the Women’s Suffrage Journal. She was also a successful biologist, astronomer and botanist and, between 1863 and 1877, an occasional correspondent of Charles Darwin.

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John Beddoe
http://www.archive.org/stream/shortbiographies00brow#page/n31/mode/2up
John Beddoe
Image from archive.org. Digitised by Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center

John Beddoe

In 1869, when gathering data on sexual selection in humans, Darwin exchanged a short series of letters with John Beddoe, a doctor in Bristol. He was looking for evidence that racial differences that appear to have no benefit in terms of survival - and therefore could not be explained by natural selection - could instead have been acquired through choices in sexual partner. Darwin was fascinated by Beddoe's analysis of married and single women patients in Bristol Royal Infirmary by hair colour.

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Charles Harrison Blackley
http://enriqueta.man.ac.uk/luna/servlet/s/2os6gx
Charles Harrison Blackley
MMC/2/BlackleyC/1/29
Copyright of The University of Manchester

Charles Harrison Blackley

You may not have heard of Charles Harrison Blackley (1820–1900), but if you are one of the 15 million people in the UK who suffer from hay fever, you are indebted to him. For it was he who identified pollen as the cause of the allergy. Darwin was fascinated by Blackley’s experiments testing whether pollen could be carried large distances in the upper regions of the atmosphere, experiments that had been inspired by Darwin’s discussion of collecting atmospheric dust at Porto Praya in his Journal of researches (2nd edition, p. 5).

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Antoinette Louisa Brown Blackwell
https://archive.org/stream/historyofwomansu01stan#page/n465/mode/2up
Antoinette Louisa Brown Blackwell
Image from archive.org. Digitised by Wellesley College Library, Boston Library Consortium

Antoinette Brown Blackwell

Antoinette Brown Blackwell (1825–1921) was born in Henrietta, New York. In early life she began to preach in her local Congregational Church and went on to teach. Throughout her life she was a renowned public speaker, a vociferous social reformer and promoter of women’s rights. She was the first woman to be ordained as a minister in the United States. Brown later became a Unitarian and remained committed to the idea of that women’s participation in religion could improve their status in society.

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Boat Memory

Boat Memory was one of the indigenous people from Tierra del Fuego brought back to England by Robert FitzRoy in 1830, but he remains as ghostly a figure as his name. What he was called by his own people is unknown, but the name Boat Memory, chosen by FitzRoy, was doubly ominous. It recalls both the reason for his capture and his disappearance from the historical record following his sudden death from smallpox soon after his arrival in Plymouth.

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Mary Everest Boole
Mary Everest Boole
CUL 300:2.c.95.12
Cambridge University Library

Mary Everest Boole

Mary Everest was born in 1832 in Wickwar, Gloucestershire, daughter of Reverend Thomas Everest. Her uncle was George Everest, Surveyor General of India, after whom Mount Everest is named. Her family moved to France seeking to improve her father’s ill health through homeopathic cures. She was educated at home and received arithmetic lessons from Monsieur Déplace, whom she idolised as the ‘hero’ of her childhood. The family returned to England when she was 11 where she assisted in her father’s parish, teaching in Sunday school. During a visit to Ireland when she was 18 she met George Boole, a 35 year old professor of mathematics who taught at Queen’s College, Cork. They shared both a love of mathematics and an approach to learning that was more practical and engaging than learning by rote. The couple married in 1855 and had 5 daughters but Mary was widowed at 32, when her youngest daughter was six months old.

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William B. Bowles

As a famous figure in the debates surrounding human evolution, Darwin could be something of a lightning rod for eccentric thinkers with their own ideas about his theories. The idea of a “missing link” compelled one such enthusiast to write to him about the possible origins of humankind. Having read an “exposition of the ‘Darwinian theory’” that posited the missing link as an extinct “race of ‘Speechless Men,’” an American banker living in Paris by the name of William B. Bowles suggested to Darwin that, in fact, the “missing link” was neither speechless nor extinct.

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Thomas Burgess

As well as its complement of sailors, the Beagle also carried a Royal Marine sergeant and seven marines, one of whom was Thomas Burgess. When the Beagle set sail he was twenty one, having been born in October 1810 to Israel and Hannah Burgess of Lancashire Hill in Heaton Norris, a village in Stockport outside Manchester (The National Archives RG4/422/37/74).

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George Busk
http://wellcomeimages.org/
George Busk
V0026123
Wellcome Library, London

George Busk

After the Beagle voyage, Darwin’s collection of bryozoans disappears from the records until the material was sent, in 1852, for study by George Busk, one of the foremost workers on the group of his day. In 1863, on the way down to Malvern Wells, Darwin had cause to consult Busk on quite another matter: a former Hunterian Professor at the Royal College of Surgeons, Busk was asked to prescribe for Darwin’s ‘stomach symptoms’ following a recommendation from Darwin’s friend Joseph Hooker, who reportedly described Busk as ‘the most fertile brain of any man I know in regard of all such matters as your stomach’. (Busk duly prescribed, but the famous symptoms continued.)

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