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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Asa Gray   11 June 1872


June 11, 1872

My Dear Darwin

I dare say you have long ago the clever thing referred to in Prof. Rood’s1 letter; I send the copy by a friend who will post it in Liverpool—so that it should reach you nearly as soon as this letter.

We are closing up our domestic affairs—for a vacation-visit to California and the Rky Mts. and am much hurried.2

Ever yours cordially | Asa Gray


341 East 15th. St | New York

June 8th. 1872.

Dear Professor:

I send you by express two copies of The Young Darwinian, (from the artist, Mr Beard)3 One is intended for Mr Darwin the other for yourself.

The artist assured me that it was executed in a purely neutral spirit, and without any intention of casting ridicule—on either side.

We in New York enjoyed it very much—

Sincerely | O. N. Rood

Prof Asa Gray

Beard is a very talented fellow, and would no doubt be delighted by a line from you, though he dont expect it. | R—


Gray and his wife, Jane Loring Gray, planned to spend a month in the Yosemite Valley, California (J. L. Gray ed. 1893, 2: 625).
A photograph of a drawing based on an oil painting by William Holbrook Beard had been exhibited in the Century Association in New York on 3 June 1871. Beard painted the original work, called ‘The youthful Darwin expounding his theories’ and now in the American Museum of Natural History, in 1859 as a response to Origin (Peck 1994, p. 699). Beard specialised in satirical paintings substituting animals for humans; ‘The youthful Darwin’ depicts a young humanoid with a vestigial tail showing two older apes a series of creatures from fish to amphibian (see plate in Correspondence vol. 20). The enclosure to Rood’s letter has not been found, and may have been a copy either of the drawing, or of the photograph (see also letter to Asa Gray, 8 July [1872]).


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.

Peck, Robert McCracken. 1994. William Holbrook Beard (1824–1900). Magazine Antiques 146: 692–700.


O. N. Rood sends two copies of an amusing picture by T. F. Beard, "The young Darwinian" to AG, who forwards one to CD.

Letter details

Letter no.
Asa Gray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Cambridge Mass.
Source of text
DAR 106: D13–14
Physical description
ALS 1p, encl ALS 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8381,” accessed on 24 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20