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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [9 or 16 February 1854]1


Thursday Afternoon

My dear Hooker

I do not know what to say— I have within these few minutes received your Book,2 & after admiring some of the illustrations, I fell on the Dedication to me.—3 My dear Hooker, you have gratified me, more than I can speak, but really it is altogether too great a compliment to me.— Only fancy that I should live to have a Book, dedicated to me,—& such a book, so beautiful & magnificent.— I have not even read the Title-Page nor looked at all the illustrations, & now Emma4 has seized on the Book. Most of the illustrations seem to me quite beautiful: there is a capital woodcut, showing the great plain in an admirable manner,—5 it reminds me of the Pampas from the Andes.— Your book will delightfully last me for a long time, & I shall begin this evening, & lay aside the Salt-Lake Book.—6 What a sum of money the whole must have cost! I had no idea whatever that it would be so splendid,—And that I should have such a book dedicated to me.— Well, my dear Hooker, I thank you from my heart, & Mrs. Hooker, as joint-author:7 Emma says she feels a good share of the honour, & she desires me to give her best love to Mrs. Hooker.

I wish I felt more worthy of the honour, but I am so far worthy, that I am & have long been, my dear Hooker, your very affectionate friend | C. Darwin

I see that the Dedication has put it out of my head even to thank you for this beautiful present of the Book itself—


The date is established by the publication date of Hooker 1854 (see n. 2, below), and by the relationship between this letter and the letter to Charles Lyell, 18 February [1854] (Correspondence vol. 5), in which there is a reference to the dedication in Hooker 1854. In 1854, 9 and 16 February were Thursdays.
Hooker’s Himalayan journals (Hooker 1854) was published in mid-February 1854 (Publishers’ Circular 1854). An annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 392–3). CD recorded it under the heading ‘Books read’ in his reading notebooks on 7 March 1854 (see Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV, 128: 8).
The dedication reads: ‘To Charles Darwin, F.R.S., &c. These Volumes are Dedicated, by his affectionate friend, J. D. Hooker. Kew, Jan. 12th, 1854’ (Hooker 1854, 1: [v]).
CD may refer to a fold-out lithograph, ‘Tibet and Cholamoo Lakes from Donkia Pass’, in volume 2 of Hooker 1854, facing page 124.
CD recorded Stansbury 1852, An expedition to the valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, under the heading ‘Books read’ in his reading notebooks on 23 March 1854 (see Correspondence 4, Appendix IV, 128: 8).
In his Life and letters of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (L. Huxley 1918, 2: 190), Leonard Huxley wrote of Frances Harriet Hooker: ‘As a good writer of English, she constantly aided him in his writing and correction of proofs, where he relied greatly on her judgment.’


Has received JDH’s book [Himalayan journals (1854)]. Is very gratified by the dedication to him.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
Oliver N. Hooker (private collection)
Physical description
ALS 5pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1552F,” accessed on 29 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13 (Supplement)