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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Arnold Dodel-Port1   12 June 1878

Hottingen | Zürich,

12. Juni 1878.

Herrn Charles Darwin in Down, Beckenham, Kent | England.

Hochgeehrtester Herr!

Wir haben das Vergnügen, Ihnen heute die soeben erscheinende 1. Lieferung unsers “Anatomisch-physiologischen Atlas der Botanik” zu übersenden (als Rolle, unter Kreuzband, recommandirt) und hoffen, daß diese ersten Blätter eines entwicklungsgeschichtlichen, physiologischen Anschauungsmittels Ihren Erwartungen entspreche.2 Das Unternehmen fand bei den bedeutendsten Fachgelehrten Deutschlands so freundliche Aufnahme, daß es nicht schwer war, auch einen begeisterten u. opferwilligen Verleger für die deutsche und französische Ausgabe zu finden. Gegenwärtig wird die Herstellung der 2ten & 3ten Lieferung, die im Spätjahr erscheinen sollen, vorbereitet. Nach zwei bis 3 Wochen wird die erste Lieferung mit französischem Text erscheinen. Gleichzeitig wird der Text in’s Englische übersetzt, um dem kostspieligen Werk, dessen Herstellung ein grosses Kapital erfordert, auch in England & Amerika Abonnenten zu sichern.3 Nur dadurch, dass mehrere Nationen sich als Abnehmer für dieses Lehrmittel interessiren, wird es möglich sein, das Ganze in jener Weise durchzuführen, wie es im Wunsch der deutschen Botaniker und Anhänger der Entwicklungslehre liegt. Für die Ausgabe mit englischem Text u. für den Vertrieb in England & Amerika werden wir noch eine englische Firma gewinnen müssen, da die buchhändlerischen Verhältnisse es dem deutschen Verleger unmöglich machen, für die Propaganda in England etwas Erhebliches zu thun.× Wir werden uns daher in diesen Tagen an einen einglischen Verleger wenden, um zu erfahren, ob sich dort ein Mann findet, der im gleichen Sinne für die Ausbreitung des Werkes in England wirken kann u. will, wie es Herr Schreiber für die französische & deutsche Ausgabe thut. Es ist daher gedenkbar, daß der angesprochene englische Verleger bei Ihnen oder bei Ihren Herren Söhnen4 anfragen wird, was Sie von dem Unternehmen halten. So mag es denn am Platz sein, zu sagen, daß die vorragendsten Botanik-Professoren deutschlands mit Leib u. Seele für unsern Atlas einstehen, mit Rath & That helfend zum Gelingen des Ganzen beitragend. (V. “Prospect & Vorwort”, die Namen: Julius Sachs, Carl Nägeli, Ferdinand Cohn, De Bary, Eduard Strasburger, Pringsheim, Julius Wiesner etc.)5

Wie Sie aus der vorliegenden Lieferung ersehen werden, haben wir in diesen Blättern Kapitel aus den verschiedensten botanischen Disciplinen behandelt. Am meisten dürften Sie die drei Tafeln: Drosera (die Ihnen schon früher zugesandt wurde), Salvia & Ophrys interessiren. Alle drei sind von mir nach der Natur gezeichnet. Ob sie wahr sind, das werden in erster Linie Sie entscheiden. Von den Orchideen habe ich deßhalb die relativ seltene Ophrys Arachnites gewählt, weil ich diese Pflanze etliche Sommer beobachtet & von ihr allein colorirte Originalzeichnungen besass.6 Auch entschied der Umstand sehr für diese Wahl, daß bei Ophrys der Bau der Orchideen-Blüthe sehr leicht ohne Zergliederung demonstrirt werden kann.

In später erscheinenden Lieferungen werden noch etliche Blumentafeln erscheinen. Dr. Hermann Müller in Lippstadt war so freundlich, uns aus freien Stücken eine grössere Zahl von weitern Originalzeichnungen zur freien Auswahl zu offeriren, die wir in der Folge zu benützen gedenken. Dasselbe können wir von Prof. De Bary, Eduard Strasburger, Nägeli & Pringsheim melden.

Es handelt sich nun in erster Linie darum, nach der Ausgabe der ersten Lieferung bei den Gelehrten & Schulmännern deutscher, französischer u. englischer Zunge, die das Glück haben, Botanik auf dem Katheder lehren zu dürfen, Abonnenten für das Werk zu gewinnen. Gelingt das Ganze, indem sich alle Cultur-Nationen daran betheiligen, so wird für die botanische Entwicklungsgeschichte der schwierige Weg auch in die Mittelschule einigermassen geebnet werden.7 Wir erreichen dabei mehr, als wenn die Entwicklungsgeschichte im engen Rahmen des academischen Unterrichtes verbleibt.

Genehmigen Sie, hochgeehrtester Herr, bei diesem Anlaß neuerdings die Versicherung unserer ausgezeichneten Hochachtung | und dankbarsten Ergebenheit: | die herausgeber des “Atlas” | für dieselben:

Dr. Arnold Dodel-Port | Freie Straße 22 | in Hottingen | Zürich.

[Enclosure]

We have the pleasure to send you to day our newly published first number of the anotomical physiological Atlas of botany” … & we hope that this first blossom of a physiological developpment untertaking may answer your expectations. The undertaking met with such a friendly reception from the learned in the matter in Germany that it was not difficult to find an enthusiastic & willing publisher for the German & French edition. At present the second & third parts which are to appear late in the year are being prepared. Also in two or 3 weeks will the first edition with french text appear. At the same time the text will be translated into English, in order to see the expensive work for the putting forth of which a great capital is wanted spread abroad in England & America.

Only through the fact that several naturalists have interested themmselves as … for this capital, will it be possible to bring out the whole in the way that the German Botanists with … … For the edition with english text & for the … in England & Amerika we must win over an english firm, as the bookselling circumstances make it impossible for the German publisher to do anything important for the propaganda in England. We shall therefore soon turn to an english publisher, to learn if there is there a man who in the same sense both can & will work for the spreading of the work in England   Herr Schreiber will manage for the German & french edition. It is therefore imaginable that the said publisher should ask you or your son what you think of the undertaking. May it come into your heart to say that the boldest botanists & professors of Germany stand up with body & soul for our atlas & contribute advise & help to the success of the whole   the names Julius Sachs etct

As you will see from the accompanying copy we have made capital out of the most different botanical discipline. You should remark most the three plates of Drosera (which were sent to you earlier) x. All three were drawn by me from nature. Whether they are true you will be able to decide at the first line. Of the Orchids I have chosen the relatively rare Aachinites because I observed this plant in the summer & of it alone possessed original drawings. Also the circumstance that in the Ophrys the build of the orchis flowers can be shown very easily without dismembering it, had great weight in my choice. In the later appearing copies— there will be several plates of flowers. Dr Hermann Müller of Leipzig was so kind as to give us the choice of a large number of original drawings which we are thinking of using & also from Prof de Bary Eduard Nägelie & Pringsheim   It is therefore above all things important after the pulbication of the first part to win over the learned men & schoolmen in the German, French & English tongues who have the happiness to be allowed to teach botany from the lecturing desk, if they thunder forth for the work the whole thing succeeds.

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Appendix I. A contemporary translation found with the letter is included above.
Dodel-Port sent the first part of his and Carolina Dodel-Port’s Anatomisch-physiologischer Atlas der Botanik für Hoch- und Mittelschulen (Anatomical-physiological atlas of botany for universities and middle schools; Dodel-Port and Dodel-Port 1878–83). Dodel-Port had sent two early plates from the atlas to CD in 1877 (see n. 6, below) and CD had found them ‘excellent’ and ‘well executed’ (Correspondence vol. 25, letter to Arnold Dodel-Port, 6 July 1877).
The German edition was published by J. F. Schreiber, a company run by Ferdinand Schreiber. A French translation of Dodel-Port and Dodel-Port 1878–83 has not been identified; the English translation of the explanatory texts was published in parts from 1880 (Dodel-Port and Dodel-Port 1880–3). The work was expensive because of the large number of lithographed plates.
Carl Wilhelm von Nägeli, Ferdinand Julius Cohn, Anton de Bary, and Nathanael Pringsheim. A large edition of sixty plates was planned for universities but only the forty-two-plate edition aimed at secondary schools was ever published (see Correspondence vol. 25, letter from Arnold Dodel-Port, 3 July 1877 and n. 4).
Dodel-Port had previously sent plates of Drosera rotundifolia (the common or round-leaved sundew) and Volvox gobator (a species of green algae); see Correspondence vol. 25, letter from Arnold Dodel-Port, 3 July 1877. CD had made major studies of the genera Drosera, Salvia, and Ophrys in Insectivorous plants, Cross and self fertilisation, and Orchids, respectively. Drosera rotundifolia, Salvia sclarea, and Ophrys arachnites appeared as plates 1, 11, and 36 in Dodel-Port and Dodel-Port 1878–83. Ophrys arachnites (late spider-orchid) is a synonym of Ophrys fuciflora subsp. fuciflora; CD had described it in Orchids 2d ed., pp. 51–2.
Mittelschule (German): literally, middle school, but used to refer to a level following the first few years of school in a Volksschule (now Grundschule). For more on the struggle to have evolution taught in German schools, against the opposition of the Catholic Church, see Hopwood 2015, p. 137.

Bibliography

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 28 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Cross and self fertilisation: The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1876.

Dodel-Port, Arnold and Dodel-Port, Carolina. 1880–3. Handbook to … Anatomical & physiological atlas of botany for use in schools and colleges. 7 pts. Text translated and edited by D. M’Alpine. Edinburgh: W. & A. K. Johnston.

Hopwood, Nick. 2015. Haeckel’s embryos: images, evolution, and fraud. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.

Orchids 2d ed.: The various contrivances by which orchids are fertilised by insects. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition, revised. London: John Murray. 1877.

Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.

Translation

From Arnold Dodel-Port1   12 June 1878

Hottingen | Zurich,

12 June 1878.

Mr Charles Darwin in Down, Beckenham, Kent | England.

Most esteemed Sir!

We have the pleasure of sending you today (in a tube, under wrapper, by registered mail) the 1st instalment of our “Anatomisch- physiologischer Atlas der Botanik”, just now published, and we hope that these first plates of an evolutionary, physiological teaching aid meet your expectations.2 The project met with such a kind reception among the most important specialists in Germany that it was not difficult to find an enthusiastic & devoted publisher for the German and French editions. Currently the 2d & 3d instalments, which are to appear in the autumn, are being prepared for production. In two or 3 weeks, the first instalment with the French text will come out. At the same time the text is being translated into English, so as to ensure that this costly work, whose production requires an extensive investment, will find subscribers also in England & America.3 Only if several nations show an interest in acquiring this teaching aid will it be possible to carry out the whole thing the way the German botanists and supporters of the theory of evolution intended it. For the edition with an English text & for sales in England & America we must find an English company, for the peculiarities of the booktrade make it impossible for the German publisher to do much in the way of advertisement in England.× For this reason we shall approach an English publisher soon, to see if we can find a man who can & will work in England in the same spirit as Mr Schreiber does for the French & German editions. Thus it is conceivable that the English publisher who we approach will inquire of you or of your son4 about your views on the undertaking. Thus it may be appropriate to mention that the most eminent professors of botany in Germany are vouching for our atlas body and soul, and contribute to the success of the whole endeavour by supporting it by word and deed. (V. “Prospect & Vorwort”, the names: Julius Sachs, Carl Nägeli, Ferdinand Cohn, De Bary, Eduard Strasburger, Pringsheim, Julius Wiesner etc.)5

As you can see from the instalment at hand, we have in these plates dealt with chapters from disparate branches of botany. No doubt the three plates: Drosera (which was sent to you earlier), Salvia & Ophrys will interest you most. All three of them were drawn from nature by myself. Whether they are true to nature will be decided primarily by you. Among the orchids I chose the relatively rare Ophrys Arachnites because I observed this plant over several summers & because I possessed coloured original drawings only of this.6 Also decisive for this choice was the circumstance that in Ophrys, the structure of the orchid blossom can very easily be demonstrated without dissecting it.

Among the future instalments, there will be several more plates of flowers. Dr. Hermann Müller of Lippstadt was so kind as to offer us of his own accord a free choice of a large number of yet more original drawings, which we intend to use in the future. We can report the same of Prof. De Bary, Eduard Strasburger, Nägeli & Pringsheim.

Now the project depends primarily on whether, after the publication of the first instalment, we find subscribers among the scholars & teachers of the German, French & English tongue who are so fortunate as to be permitted to teach botany at a university. If the thing comes off as a result of all civilised nations participating in it, this might somewhat decrease the difficulties in getting the history of botanical evolution into the Mittelschule.7 That way we would achieve more than if the history of evolution remained within the narrow frame of academic teaching.

Allow me, most esteemed Sir, on this occasion to renew my assurance of our greatest respect | and grateful devotion: | the editors of the “Atlas” | For them:

Dr Arnold Dodel-Port | Freie Strasse 22 | in Hottingen | Zurich.

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original German, see pp. 233–4.
Dodel-Port sent the first part of his and Carolina Dodel-Port’s Anatomisch-physiologischer Atlas der Botanik für Hoch- und Mittelschulen (Anatomical-physiological atlas of botany for universities and middle schools; Dodel-Port and Dodel-Port 1878–83). Dodel-Port had sent two early plates from the atlas to CD in 1877 (see n. 6, below) and CD had found them ‘excellent’ and ‘well executed’ (Correspondence vol. 25, letter to Arnold Dodel-Port, 6 July 1877).
The German edition was published by J. F. Schreiber, a company run by Ferdinand Schreiber. A French translation of Dodel-Port and Dodel-Port 1878–83 has not been identified; the English translation of the explanatory texts was published in parts from 1880 (Dodel-Port and Dodel-Port 1880–3). The work was expensive because of the large number of lithographed plates.
Carl Wilhelm von Nägeli, Ferdinand Julius Cohn, Anton de Bary, and Nathanael Pringsheim. A large edition of sixty plates was planned for universities but only the forty-two-plate edition aimed at secondary schools was ever published (see Correspondence vol. 25, letter from Arnold Dodel-Port, 3 July 1877 and n. 4).
Dodel-Port had previously sent plates of Drosera rotundifolia (the common or round-leaved sundew) and Volvox gobator (a species of green algae); see Correspondence vol. 25, letter from Arnold Dodel-Port, 3 July 1877. CD had made major studies of the genera Drosera, Salvia, and Ophrys in Insectivorous plants, Cross and self fertilisation, and Orchids, respectively. Drosera rotundifolia, Salvia sclarea, and Ophrys arachnites appeared as plates 1, 11, and 36 in Dodel-Port and Dodel-Port 1878–83. Ophrys arachnites (late spider-orchid) is a synonym of Ophrys fuciflora subsp. fuciflora; CD had described it in Orchids 2d ed., pp. 51–2.
Mittelschule (German): literally, middle school, but used to refer to a level following the first few years of school in a Volksschule (now Grundschule). For more on the struggle to have evolution taught in German schools, against the opposition of the Catholic Church, see Hopwood 2015, p. 137.

Bibliography

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 28 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Cross and self fertilisation: The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1876.

Dodel-Port, Arnold and Dodel-Port, Carolina. 1880–3. Handbook to … Anatomical & physiological atlas of botany for use in schools and colleges. 7 pts. Text translated and edited by D. M’Alpine. Edinburgh: W. & A. K. Johnston.

Hopwood, Nick. 2015. Haeckel’s embryos: images, evolution, and fraud. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.

Orchids 2d ed.: The various contrivances by which orchids are fertilised by insects. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition, revised. London: John Murray. 1877.

Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.

Summary

Comments on publication of his Atlas der Botanik [1878]. Discusses possible English edition. Draws CD’s attention to plates of Drosera in Atlas. Mentions contribution offered by Hermann Müller, and support by German professors of botany.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-11552
From
Arnold Dodel-Port
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Zurich
Source of text
DAR 162: 197
Physical description
ALS 2pp (German), trans 6pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11552,” accessed on 29 May 2022, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/?docId=letters/DCP-LETT-11552.xml

letter