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Darwin Correspondence Project

To C. M. C. Darwin   24 March 1879

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Mar 24/1879

Dear Mrs Darwin,

I am going to beg a little favour of you. A German has published a short life of Dr Erasmus Darwin, chiefly in relation to his scientific work.1 My brother & I mean to have a translation of it published, and I intend to write a short preface with a few words about the family.2 We shall give a photograph from a picture of him by Wright; and I have thought that it would ornament the little book if we could give a photograph or woodcut of Elston or Elston Hall (for I do not know which it ought to be called) as his birth place.3 Now could you give or lend me a photograph of the house, with permission to have it reproduced? If so, I should be greatly obliged. I fear that is not probable that Mr Darwin4 or yourself possess any documents about Dr Darwin or letters from him; for if you have any & would not object to my using them they might be of much service. I possess a good many of his letters, but hardly more than one or two are worth publishing, so that I am not hopeful on this head.

I beg leave to remain | Dear Mrs. Darwin | Yours sincerely | Charles Darwin


Ernst Krause had published a biography of CD’s grandfather Erasmus Darwin (Krause 1879a).
CD’s brother was Erasmus Alvey Darwin. See letters from E. A. Darwin, 8 March [1879] and 11 March [1879].
CD planned to use a photograph of a portrait by Joseph Wright of Erasmus Darwin as the frontispiece to Erasmus Darwin (see letter to Ernst Krause, 19 March 1879 and n. 8). Elston Hall, Nottinghamshire, was the seat of the senior branch of the Darwin family and the birthplace of Erasmus Darwin.


Erasmus Darwin. By Ernst Krause. Translated from the German by W. S. Dallas, with a preliminary notice by Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1879.

Krause, Ernst. 1879a. Erasmus Darwin, der Großvater und Vorkämpfer Charles Darwin’s: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Descendenz-Theorie. Kosmos 4 (1878–9): 397–424.


Can CMCD provide a photograph of Elston, the birthplace of Erasmus Darwin, with permission to have it reproduced in Erasmus Darwin.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charlotte Maria Cooper Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
The late Mrs Vivien Kindersley (private collection)
Physical description
LS(A) 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11950F,” accessed on 24 May 2024,