Author Archives: Alison Pearn

Volume 22 (1874) just published

Volume 22 of The Correspondence of Charles Darwin is now available.  Find out what Darwin was up to in 1874: I feel as old as Methusalem; but not much in mind except that I think one takes everything more quietly, … Continue reading

A ‘scurrilous libel’

Letters revealing a unprecedented episode of incandescent anger on Darwin’s part will be published for the first time in the next volume of the Correspondence of Charles Darwin, out next month. The volume contains more than 600 letters from 1874. … Continue reading

Congratulations, Wedgwood Museum

It is very good news that the Wedgwood archive and pottery collection  has been bought for the nation.  The Darwins and Wedgwoods were so intermarried, it was a Wedgwood family joke that the Darwins were more Wedgwood than Darwin. Charles … Continue reading

Blistering Barnacles – by post!

The Natural History Museum of Denmark has just discovered a collection of barnacles sent by Charles Darwin to Japetus Steenstrup in 1854 as a thank you gift – a “very inadequate return” (Letter 1589, 7 Sept [1854]) – for the … Continue reading

Featured Correspondent: Thomas Rivers

The Project was recently contacted by the owner of an important Darwin letter that contains a rare instance of the key expressions “natural selection” and “struggle for existence” in correspondence. The letter was addressed to Thomas Rivers, a nurseryman in … Continue reading

Darwin’s injury time in Brazil

When the US football team lost to Belgium in the stadium in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, they could have consoled themselves with the reflection that Darwin didn’t altogether enjoy it either.   Bahia was the place where he first set foot on … Continue reading

Hockey night in…Shrewsbury?

This week, a bombshell rocked the world of winter sports – hockey is, apparently, not from Canada. What drew our attention to this revelation is a letter from Charles Darwin used as evidence for the game’s roots in England. With … Continue reading

Casting about: Darwin on worms

This week Darwin and earthworms featured in the news announcement that a citizen science project has been launched to map the distribution of earthworms across Britain (BBC Today programme, 26 May 2014). The general understanding of the role earthworms play … Continue reading

Who is this correspondent? Charlotte Papé

Who is this correspondent?   She wrote to Charles Darwin on 16 July 1875   Charlotte was literate and articulate; her use of English was idiomatic. She may not have been young in 1875: she wrote that ‘of course, like … Continue reading

Even boils can be romantic

To celebrate Valentine’s Day we were very pleased to be asked to join in BBC Radio 3′s The Verb, to talk about how Darwin signed off his letters (no kisses).  You can hear two of Darwin’s letters to his wife, … Continue reading