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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Asa Gray   10 and 14 March [1871]1

Cambridge. Mass.

March 10,—

My Dear Darwin

It is very good of you to send me, and so kindly address, a copy of your new book,—which safely reached me two days ago. I have not yet had time to read any of it, except the preface and the ending; and I do not like to dip into it and so blunt the edge of curiosity, so I keep it well out of sight,—not caring to look just yet at any of the pages which you think likely to “aggravate” me; until some day I can get a good pull at it.2

Now as to your request in letter of Feb. 5.— question on expression as to Laura Bridgman.3 Dr. Howe would be the person to apply to. But he is in San Domingo, one of those commissioners to see what sort of Fellow-citizens those tropical blacks will make.4 So I addressed your request in a polite note to his wife, begging that she would send it on to the person—I know not who—now in charge of Laura B. at the Asylum. As yet I have no answer. And as Mrs. Howe is a remarkable person and very much occupied with the woman-question,5 she may have tossed my letter into her waste paper basket. Yet I think not. If nothing comes of it I will devise some other way of access,— will apply to Dr. Howe when he returns, if there still be time.

Wyman6 is away, in Florida, getting rid of winter and cough,—with good success, I hear.

March 14. Nothing yet from Mrs. Howe. But I hear that Dr. Howe may be back before very long.

My wife7 joins in best remembrances to you and yours. She is not very well and we are both over-busy.

Sincerely yours, | Asa Gray


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to Asa Gray, 5 February [1871].
Samuel Gridley Howe was part of a commission sent to Santo Domingo to investigate the possibility of annexing that country to the United States. He was the director of the Perkins Institution for the Blind, where Bridgman resided (ANB).
Julia Ward Howe was the co-leader of the American Woman Suffrage Association, president of the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association, and president of the New England Women’s Club (ANB).


ANB: American national biography. Edited by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes. 24 vols. and supplement. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1999–2002.

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.


Has received CD’s new book [Descent].

Will try to get answer to CD’s queries on Laura Bridgman.

Letter details

Letter no.
Asa Gray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Cambridge, Mass.
Source of text
DAR 165: 174
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7567,” accessed on 30 March 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19