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Darwin Correspondence Project

To William Bernhard Tegetmeier   6 January [1867]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Jan. 6th

My dear Sir

I return by this Post in tin cannister & therefore I trust safely the two skulls of the Horned Fowl & White Crested Polish, & most sincerely do I thank you for their loan & for your great kindness in having allowed me to keep them so long & have them engraved.—2

My M.S. is all in Printers’ Hands, but I do not suppose my Book will be out till next November, as Murray does not like publishing except in Spring or Autumn3

I shall never have finished correcting before the end of the Spring.—

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

I have changed all my numerous References to your new Poultry Book—4


The year is established by the reference to the manuscript of Variation having been sent to the printers (see n. 3, below).
Tegetmeier sent skulls of wild and domesticated fowls for CD to examine in April 1861 (see Correspondence vol. 9). CD returned some of the specimens in 1864, but retained some to be engraved for Variation (see Correspondence vols. 12 and 13). CD sent the skulls of the white-crested Polish and the horned fowl to George Brettingham Sowerby Jr for engraving in 1866 (see Correspondence vol. 14, letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 18 [December 1866] and n. 4). In Variation 1: 260, CD acknowledged ‘the kindness of Mr. Tegetmeier’ in lending nearly half of the fifty-three skulls examined. Engravings of the skulls of a white-crested Polish cock and of a horned fowl appear in Variation 1: 262, 263, and 265.
CD refers to the manuscript of Variation, and to the printing firm William Clowes & Sons (see letter from John Murray, 2 January [1867]). Murray had postponed publication of the fourth edition of Origin from July to early November 1866 (see Correspondence vol. 14, letter from John Murray, 18 July [1866]; see also letter to J. D. Hooker, 3 and 4 August [1866]). Variation was published in January 1868 (Freeman 1977).
Tegetmeier edited a revision of the first edition of The poultry book (Wingfield and Johnson 1853) in 1856 and 1857; however, the publishers went out of business before the edition was complete (see Correspondence vol. 14, letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, 22 January [1866] and n. 10). Wingfield and Johnson 1856–7 was superseded by Tegetmeier 1867; both are in the Darwin Library–CUL, and are annotated by CD (see Marginalia 1: 798–803). Tegetmeier 1867 was originally published in fifteen instalments in 1866 and 1867. In 1866, Tegetmeier asked CD twice to cite Tegetmeier 1867, rather than Wingfield and Johnson 1856–7 (see Correspondence vol. 14). Tegetmeier 1867 is cited frequently in the chapter on fowls in Variation (1: 225–75); Wingfield and Johnson 1856–7 is not cited.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Tegetmeier, William Bernhard. 1867. The poultry book: comprising the breeding and management of profitable and ornamental poultry, their qualities and characteristics; to which is added ‘The standard of excellence in exhibition birds’, authorized by the Poultry Club. London and New York: George Routledge & Sons.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Returns some of WBT’s skulls.

His MS is with printer, but book [Variation] will probably not be out until November.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Sent from
Source of text
Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5347,” accessed on 26 September 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15