skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Hubert Airy   27 January [1876?]1

Down, | Beckenham Kent.

Jan: 27—

My dear Sir.

I should be very glad to aid you in any way— I have no copy of the form but have written for one— I remember that you must give me your name in full, place of residence, profession, any titles, and especially a list of all scientific papers which you have published— My memory is bad, but if you have published only or chiefly on Phyllotaxis, I would advise you to wait before being proposed2  I have proposed or seconded a large number of men of late and it is surprising how long they have to wait for admission3—even those who admittedly have done much good work— Anyhow I strongly urge you to consult some experienced member of the Soc: and your illustrious father4 telling them what you have published, & how far your facts & views are admitted by competent judges, & get their opinion about your proposal.— I assure you that I write to this effect to save you from future possible mortification.—

My dear Sir. | Yours sincerely. | Ch. Darwin.


The year is conjectured from a note on the copy.
The society in question was probably the Royal Society of London; the certificate of a candidate for election required name, title or designation, profession or trade, usual place of residence, and qualifications. There is no record of a certificate in Airy’s name ever having been submitted and he never became a fellow. CD had previously communicated to the society a number of papers by Airy on phyllotaxy (see Correspondence vol. 22, letter from Hubert Airy, 13 March 1874 and nn. 1 and 2.)
In 1875, among those proposed or seconded by CD for fellowship of the Royal Society were William Branwhite Clarke, James Croll, Augustus Henry Lane Fox, James Geikie, John Wesley Judd, Edwin Ray Lankester, and William Rutherford (Archives of the Royal Society).
Airy’s father, George Biddell Airy, was a fellow of the Royal Society and had been president in 1872–3 (ODNB).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


Agrees to aid HA in applying for membership in a society.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Hubert Airy
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 143: 17
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10369,” accessed on 17 April 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24