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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Ernst von Hesse-Wartegg   20 September 1875

address: Grand Hotel Les Petites Dalles par Sassetot Dpt. Seine infr. France

20 Sept 1875.

Dear and honoured Sir,

One of my German papers, the “Pionier” of Leipzig asked me, to write an article of about two “Times”—columnes on your life.

As the articles in the mentioned paper serve as sources for the German Encyclopedias and other Lexica, I thought it right, to adress my request for nearer dates of your life directly to you, because the hitherto known descriptions are generally wanting of truth and correctness.

I therefore take the liberty, to ask you for lending me for a few days any description of your illustruouss life and your working (in any language), as well as a fotograf of yours, to bring a large picture.1

Not only the circumstance, that here in the little watering place is no library,2 but more the desire, to bring correct statements and an similar picture caused me, to produce my request, and I hope in consideration of the importance of the paper, that you kindly will fullfil my request.

As I (after a short stay here) go soon to Italy, I expect your kind answer as soon as possible, and remain, with the assurance of my high respect | most obediently yours | Ernest von Hesse Wartegg | [illeg].—


No reply to this letter has been found, but Hesse-Wartegg’s article about CD and an image of him was published in Der Pionier: illustrierte Zeitschrift zur Unterhaltung und Belehrung für Jedermann (Hesse-Wartegg 1875a). See also letter from Ernst von Hesse-Wartegg, 16 August 1875. In his ‘Recollections’, p. 355, CD recalled that a German editor had asked for an account of the development of his mind and character with a sketch of his autobiography, and that this had inspired him to write on the subject.
Les Petites Dalles is a coastal village in Normandy.


‘Recollections’: Recollections of the development of my mind and character. By Charles Darwin. In Evolutionary writings, edited by James A. Secord. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2008.


Writing article for a German newspaper on CD’s life. Requests autobiographical information.

Letter details

Letter no.
Ernst von Hesse-Wartegg
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 166: 194
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10162,” accessed on 4 December 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23