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Darwin Correspondence Project

From S. R. S. Norton and C. E. Norton to H. E. Darwin   21 August [1871]1

Innsbruck Austria

My dear Miss Henrietta

I have just received your note asking what Mr Wright’s “titles” are—& hasten to tell you that when we left home he was “Secretary to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences”—of which, as you know, Dr. Gray is President—2 Mr. Norton is not sure that Mr. Wright is still Secretary but says that Mr. Darwin can at once assure himself of the fact by looking at some of the last numbers of the Academy’s publications. (Transactions or Proceedings for 〈    〉). If he is not Secretar〈y he〉 is simply Mr. Chau〈ncey〉 Wright A.M. of Cambridge 〈    〉

I wrote you a few days since in answer to your most welcome letter, & hope my note has not been lost—

With warmest remembrances from us all— | I am ever, dear Miss Darwin, | Affectionately yours | Susan Norton

August 21st.

P.S. I ought to have said how truly pleased Mr. Wright will be.3


Dear Miss Darwin

I have ventured to insert a word or two in my wife’s note mainly for the sake of obtaining the opportunity to offer to you my most cordial good wishes on your engagement, the news of which has given us all much pleasure.4

I beg you to give my best respects & affectionate regards to Mr. & Mrs. Darwin.

I hope the visit to Albury still continues to be serviceable to your Father.5 His republication of Mr. Wright’s article will give great pleasure to my friend the author, who wrote to me not long since of the great pride he had felt in coming unexpectedly upon a quotation from a previous paper of his in Mr. Darwin’s last work.6

Believe me, | Faithfully Yours | C. E. Norton.


The year is established by the reference to Henrietta Darwin’s engagement to Richard Buckley Litchfield (see n. 3, below).
Chauncey Wright was recording secretary of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences from 1863 to 1870 (DAB). Susan Norton also refers to Asa Gray.
See n. 5, below.
Henrietta was engaged to be married to Richard Buckley Litchfield; the marriage took place on 31 August 1871 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
The Darwins stayed at Haredene, Albury, Surrey, from 28 July to 25 August 1871 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
CD arranged for the reprinting of a review written by Wright as a pamphlet (Wright 1871a and Wright 1871b; see letter to Chauncey Wright, 17 July [1871] and n. 2). CD cited Wright 1870 in Descent for the suggestion that increased brain size in humans might be due to the early development of language (Descent 2: 391).


DAB: Dictionary of American biography. Under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies. 20 vols., index, and 10 supplements. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons; Simon & Schuster Macmillan. London: Oxford University Press; Humphrey Milford. 1928–95.

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


Chauncey Wright’s title is "Secretary of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences".

Letter details

Letter no.
Susan Ridley Sedgwick Norton; Charles Eliot Norton
Henrietta Emma Darwin/Henrietta Emma Litchfield
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 172: 76
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7914,” accessed on 14 June 2021,

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