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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. P. T. Houk   3 January 1874

Dayton Ohio

Jan 3d./74

Charles Darwin M.A. F.R.S. &c

Dear Sir,

The accompanying paper, read before the American Association for the Advancement of Science, not being accepted for publication in the forthcoming proceedings, I take the liberty of sending you, in its present very imperfect form, thinking it will be of especial interest—1

Closely engaged, as you have so long been, in the study of facts & details, these less labored generalizations, which sometimes seem to come as a sort of inspiration, are a relief, & occasionally may serve to lighten up dark points.

Certainly such a system of physical change, progressing incessantly throughout past ages of the formation of the Earth’s crust, must have produced constant, altho constantly imperceptible changes, in all organic creatures, except those of the simplest possible types. & if the liquid & gaseous forms of matter have thus diminished, the fact is important to every branch of science— Pardon me if I am taking too great a liberty in thus addressing you, the far reaching sympathies of science & a deep conviction of the magnanimity of great minds has given me unwonted temerity in addressing the distinguished Author of the ‘origin of species’.

Begging you to accept the humble & grateful acknowledgements of one of your innumerable readers

With great respect | Eliza P. T. Houk.


The enclosure has not been found, but Houk probably sent a copy of her paper ‘Facts and suggestions in proof of the theory of the gradual and continual diminution of the quantity of water on the Earth, and its conversion into solid forms of matter’ (Proceedings of American Association for the Advancement of Science, Twenty-second Meeting, held at Portland, Maine, August 1873, p. 176). A version of the paper was privately published (Houk 1873).


Houk, Eliza Phillips Thruston. 1873. A paper presenting facts and suggestions in proof of the theory of the gradual and continuous diminution of the quantity of water upon the earth, and its permanent conversion into solid forms of matter. Dayton, Ohio: printed at the Daily Journal Establishment.


Sends paper she read before AAAS, but which was not accepted for Proceedings.

Letter details

Letter no.
Eliza Phillips Thruston Houk
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Dayton, Ohio
Source of text
DAR 166: 272
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9225,” accessed on 3 March 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22