skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From A. C. V. D. d’Orbigny   [June–July 1846]

– “In order to arrive at satisfactory results in an undertaking so vast,1 I shall need the assistance of all persons who are interested in the advance of geology, and I trust to your procuring for me in England many correspondents willing to exchange the fossil shells of various formations for such portions of my works on Palæontology as they may most require. I wish, for instance, to obtain, 1st, fossils of the Crag and London Clay, and 2nd, those of the Cretaceous formations of the Isle of Wight and Blackdown; but, above all, the fossils of your Carboniferous, Devonian and Silurian beds.”


The excerpt appeared in a note headed ‘D’Orbigny’s ‘Paléontologie Universelle’ ’ announcing that Orbigny ‘has undertaken to prepare a work under the above title, in which he proposes to give figures, with accompanying descriptions, of every species of fossil shells hitherto determined, from all geological formations in all parts of the world.’ It is also stated that the excerpt is from a letter from Orbigny ‘Addressed to Mr. Darwin.’


ACVDdO asks CD to assist him in finding correspondents willing to provide British fossil shells for his proposed work, Paléontologie universelle, in exchange for parts of ACVDdO’s palaeontological works.

Letter details

Letter no.
Alcide Charles Victor Dessalines (Alcide) d’Orbigny
Charles Robert Darwin
Source of text
Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London (Part 2) 2 1846: 59
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 982A,” accessed on 30 November 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3