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Darwin Correspondence Project

To K. T. E. von Siebold   4 December 1871

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Decr. 4. 1871

Dear & Respected Sir

I have been much gratified by receiving your letter & photograph, for during very many years I have held your name in the greatest honour; & I especially thank you for your very kind words about what I have attempted to do in natural science.1

Your view of pseudova,—that they perhaps constitute a return to a primordial state of things is quite new to me.—2 I have not as yet received your recent work on Parthenogenesis;3 but I received some years ago your very interesting memoir on Polistes, which seemed to me a worthy successor to your famous book on the Hive-bee; & this in fact first started this important subject.4

With most sincere respect & my best thanks, I remain | Dear Sir | Yours very faithfully, Ch. Darwin


See letter from K. T. E. von Siebold, 29 November 1871 and n. 5. CD had cited Siebold’s work in a number of his own publications, including Living Cirripedia (1851), Variation, and Descent.
See letter from K. T. E. von Siebold, 29 November 1871. CD’s copy of Siebold 1871 is in the Darwin Library–Down.
CD’s annotated copy of Siebold’s paper on the wasp Polistes gallica (Siebold 1869) is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL; his annotated copy of Siebold’s book On a true parthenogenesis in moths and bees (Siebold 1857) is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 756–7).


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

Living Cirripedia (1851): A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Lepadidæ; or, pedunculated cirripedes. By Charles Darwin. London: Ray Society. 1851.

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.

Siebold, Karl Theodor Ernst von. 1857. On a true parthenogenesis in moths and bees; a contribution to the history of reproduction in animals. Translated by William S. Dallas. London: John van Voorst.

Siebold, Karl Theodor Ernst von. 1869. Ueber Parthenogenesis bei Polistes gallica und über Paedogenesis der Strepsipteren. Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Zoologie 20: 236–47.

Siebold, Karl Theodor Ernst von. 1871. Beiträge zur Parthenogenesis der Arthropoden. Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann.

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


Thanks for the letter, photograph, and kind words about CD’s scientific work. [See 8088.]

CTEvS’s view of pseudova is new to CD;

he has not yet received the recent work on parthenogenesis

though he did receive the memoir on Polistes.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Carl Theodor Ernst von Siebold
Sent from
Source of text
Museo Nacional de Etnología, Madrid (FD4472)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8094A,” accessed on 23 February 2020,

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