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Darwin in letters, 1874: A turbulent year

Summary

The year 1874 was one of consolidation, reflection, and turmoil for Darwin. He spent the early months working on second editions of Coral reefs and Descent of man; the rest of the year was mostly devoted to further research on insectivorous plants. A…

Matches: 9 hits

  • … pleasures of shooting and collecting beetles ( letter from W. D. Fox, 8 May [1874] ).  Such …
  • … one looks backwards much more than forwards’ ( letter to W. D. Fox, 11 May [1874] ). …
  • … the subject & that must be enough for me’ ( letter to W. D. Fox, 11 May [1874] ). …
  • … in a few hours dissolve the hardest cartilage, bone & meat &c. &c.’ ( letter to W. D. …
  • … do when they are sitting at rest’ ( letter from S. W. Pennypacker, 14 September 1874 ). …
  • … and often returned to the vomit and ate it ( letter from W. G. Walker, 6 December 1874 ). …
  • … ( Circular to John Lubbock, P. L. Sclater, Charles Lyell, W. B. Carpenter, and Michael Foster, [7 …
  • … to the Entomological Society of London ( letter from H. W. Bates, 1 October 1874 ). He supported …
  • … head that M r  Spencer’s terms of equilibration &c always bother me & make everything less …

List of correspondents

Summary

Below is a list of Darwin's correspondents with the number of letters for each one. Click on a name to see the letters Darwin exchanged with that correspondent.    "A child of God" (1) Abberley,…

Matches: 6 hits

  • … F. E. (17) Abernethy, J. W. (1) …
  • … Bacon, Booth (1) Badger, E. W. (3) …
  • … Baillière, G.-G. (1) Baily, W. H. (1) …
  • … H. H. (1) Baranoff, W. (2) Barber, M …
  • … Joachim (1) Barrett, W. F. (1) …
  • … Fowler, J. K. (1) Fox, C. W. (3) Fox …

Have you read the one about....

Summary

... the atheistical cats, or the old fogies in Cambridge? We've suggested a few - some funny, some serious - but all letters you can read here.

Matches: 1 hits

  • … ... the atheistical cats, or the old fogies in Cambridge? We've suggested a few - some funny, some …

Darwin in letters, 1869: Forward on all fronts

Summary

At the start of 1869, Darwin was hard at work making changes and additions for a fifth edition of  Origin. He may have resented the interruption to his work on sexual selection and human evolution, but he spent forty-six days on the task. Much of the…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … of correcting’ ( Correspondence  vol. 16, letter to W. D. Fox, 12 December [1868] ). He may …
  • … troubled at the short duration of the world according to Sir W. Thompson, for I require for my …
  • … ability to recognise the different varieties ( letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 25 February [1869] ). …
  • … ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 7 May 1869 , letter from W. B. Dawkins, 17 July 1869 ). He …
  • … a genus that he had studied in the early 1860s ( letter to W. C. Tait, 12 and 16 March 1869 ). …

Darwin in letters, 1858-1859: Origin

Summary

The years 1858 and 1859 were, without doubt, the most momentous of Darwin’s life. From a quiet rural existence filled with steady work on his ‘big book’ on species, he was jolted into action by the arrival of an unexpected letter from Alfred Russel Wallace…

Matches: 6 hits

  • … at the end of 1859, ‘I sometimes fancied that my book w  d  be successful; but I never even built …
  • … myself that all was much alike, & if you condemned that you w d . condemn all—my life’s work— …
  • … it is impossible that men like Lyell, Hooker, Huxley, H. C. Watson, Ramsay &c would change their …
  • … required a fresh act of intervention to supply the lacunas w h . he himself had made’ ( letter …
  • … got much more larky since we run two horses’ ( letter to W. E. Darwin, 6 October [1858] ). …
  • … a sort of instinct to try to make out truth’ ( letter to W. D. Fox, 24 [March 1859] ). Yet he …

Darwin in letters,1866: Survival of the fittest

Summary

The year 1866 began well for Charles Darwin, as his health, after several years of illness, was now considerably improved. In February, Darwin received a request from his publisher, John Murray, for a new edition of  Origin. Darwin got the fourth…

Matches: 11 hits

  • … 4 June 1866, and in a letter to his cousin William Darwin Fox on 24 August [1866] , he wrote, ‘I …
  • … of which Tegetmeier had agreed to supervise ( letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 16 January [1866] ). …
  • … drawing Darwin, Hooker, and the botanist Charles James Fox Bunbury into the discussion of glacial …
  • … there are over 200 medallions of Papa made by a man from W ms  photo in circulation amongst the …
  • … teleological development ( see for example, letter to C. W. Nägeli, 12 June [1866] ). Also in …
  • … species was ‘merely ordinaryly diœcious’ ( letter from W. E. Darwin, [7 May – 11 June 1866] ). On …
  • … is a case of dimorphic becoming diœcious’ ( letter from W. E. Darwin, 20 June [1866] ). …
  • … I am well accustomed to such explosions’ ( letter to W. E. Darwin, 22 June [1866] ). He urged …
  • … natural selection, and with special creation ( letter from W. R. Grove, 31 August 1866 ). Hooker …
  • … that ‘each suggestion, to be of real value to science, w d  require years of work’ ( letter to J. …
  • … states and Austria in June and July. Writing on 10 May from Württemberg, one of the states bordering …

Darwin in letters, 1872: Job done?

Summary

'My career’, Darwin wrote towards the end of 1872, 'is so nearly closed. . .  What little more I can do, shall be chiefly new work’, and the tenor of his correspondence throughout the year is one of wistful reminiscence, coupled with a keen eye…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … a week later ( enclosure to letter from John Lubbock to W. E. Gladstone, 20 June 1872 ).  Darwin …
  • … use of the microscope led his head to `fail’ ( letter to W. D. Fox, 29 October [1872] ) he had …
  • … by hearing about Panagæus!’ Darwin wrote ( letter to W. D. Fox,  16 July [1872] ).  I …
  • … the continent for the sake of their health ( see letter to W. D. Fox, 16 July [1872] and n. 3), …
  • … never may; for she is extremely delicate’ ( letter to W. D. Fox, 16 July [1872] ). By December, …

The "wicked book": Origin at 157

Summary

Origin is 157 years old.  (Probably) the most famous book in science was published on 24 November 1859.  To celebrate we have uploaded hundreds of new images of letters, bringing the total number you can look at here to over 9000 representing more than…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … the other names to look for: Daniel Oliver W. T. Thiselton-Dyer George …

Darwin in letters, 1856-1857: the 'Big Book'

Summary

In May 1856, Darwin began writing up his 'species sketch’ in earnest. During this period, his working life was completely dominated by the preparation of his 'Big Book', which was to be called Natural selection. Using letters are the main…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … on domestic animals in India and elsewhere. William Darwin Fox supplied information about cats, dogs …
  • … bad & not a stop from beginning to end!’ (letters to W. E. Darwin, [17 February 1857] and …

'An Appeal' against animal cruelty

Summary

The four-page pamphlet transcribed below and entitled 'An Appeal', was composed jointly by Emma and Charles Darwin (see letter from Emma Darwin to W. D. Fox, [29 September 1863]). The pamphlet, which protested against the cruelty of steel vermin…

Matches: 10 hits

  • … by Emma and Charles Darwin (see letter from Emma Darwin to W. D. Fox, [29 September 1863]). The …
  • … 22 July 1863 and n. 1, and letters from Emma Darwin to W. D. Fox, [6–27 September 1863], 29 …
  • … Squires Ladies & MPs' (see letter from Emma Darwin to W. D. Fox, [6–27 September 1863], and …
  • … (DAR 219.1: 77), and Correspondence vol. 11, letter to W. D. Fox, [29 September 1863]). Several …
  • … the 'cruelty pamphlet', and letter from Emma Darwin to W. D. Fox, 8 December [1863]). …
  • … E. L. Darwin, 7 September 1863, letter from Emma Darwin to W. D. Fox, 8 December [1863], and …
  • … pp. 44, 54–5, 78, and Correspondence vol. 2, letter to W. D. Fox, 28 August [1837]). Later he …
  • … , pp. 78–9, Correspondence vol. 7, letter to W. E. Darwin, 22 [September 1858], and this volume, …
  • … not been identified; however, see letter from Emma Darwin to W. D. Fox, 8 December [1863]. Only two …
  • … the end of one of the two copies of the pamphlet among the W. D. Fox papers in Christ’s College …

Darwin in letters,1870: Human evolution

Summary

The year 1870 is aptly summarised by the brief entry Darwin made in his journal: ‘The whole of the year at work on the Descent of Man & Selection in relation to Sex’.  Descent was the culmination of over three decades of observations and reflections on…

Matches: 8 hits

  • … 1870, Darwin made a note on the shape of human ears: ‘W. has seen the tips in women & men. When …
  • … belief that all demons and spirits were white ( letter from W. W. Reade, 9 November 1870 ). …
  • … to criticise them? No one but yourself’ ( letter from H. W. Bates, 20 May 1870 ). Darwin very …
  • … to say that I  never  write reviews’ ( letter to H. W. Bates, [22 May 1870] ). St George …
  • … wasted if I once began to answer objectors’ ( letter to W. H. Flower, 25 March [1870] ). In his …
  • … college lectures for the time being ( letter to [E.W. Blore], [October 1870 or later] ). …
  • … evidence believe in bad motives in others’  ( letter to W. D. Fox, 15 November [1870] ). Fox …
  • … kill the Lady, if he had an opportunity’  ( letter from W. D. Fox, 18 [November 1870] ). …

Science, Work and Manliness

Summary

Discussion Questions|Letters In 1859, popular didactic writer William Landels published the first edition of what proved to be one of his best-selling works, How Men Are Made. "It is by work, work, work" he told his middle class audience, …

Matches: 2 hits

  • … Letters Letter 282 - Darwin to Fox, W. D., [9 - 12 August 1835] Darwin …
  • … arrange facts. Letter 8153 - Darwin to Darwin, W. E., [9 January 1872] Darwin …

Darwin in letters, 1862: A multiplicity of experiments

Summary

1862 was a particularly productive year for Darwin. This was not only the case in his published output (two botanical papers and a book on the pollination mechanisms of orchids), but more particularly in the extent and breadth of the botanical experiments…

Matches: 8 hits

  • … his son, William, his language was more blunt ( letter to W. E. Darwin, 14 February [1862] ): …
  • … ‘good dashes of original reflexions’ ( letter to H. W. Bates, 13 January [1862] ). He warmly …
  • … & admirable papers I ever read in my life’ ( letter to H. W. Bates, 20 November [1862] ). He …
  • … and Emma ‘perplexed to death what to do’ ( letter to W. E. Darwin, [2–3 August 1862] ). They …
  • … analogous to the nervous matter of animals’ ( letter to W. D. Fox, 20 [September 1862] ; letter …
  • … work would make his life ‘much happier’ ( letter to W. E. Darwin, 14 February [1862] ). Darwin …
  • … with him, enthusiastically set to work ( see letter to W. E. Darwin, [2–3 August 1862] , and …
  • … insects with Darwin’s hypothesis ( see letter from H. W. Bates, 30 April 1862 ), Darwin was …

Darwin in letters, 1863: Quarrels at home, honours abroad

Summary

At the start of 1863, Charles Darwin was actively working on the manuscript of The variation of animals and plants under domestication, anticipating with excitement the construction of a hothouse to accommodate his increasingly varied botanical experiments…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … this subject seems to get rarer & rarer’ ( letter to H. W. Bates, 18 April [1863] ), …
  • … for the Natural History Review  ( see letter to H. W. Bates, 12 January [1863] ). Darwin added …
  • … on the bookcase and around the head of the sofa ( letter to W. E. Darwin, [25 July 1863], and …
  • … was hidden by overgrown trees and shrubs ( see letter from W. D. Fox, 7 September [1863] ). Emma …
  • … ‘Owen will not be right in telling Longmans that Book w  d  be utterly forgotten in ten years’. …

Darwin in letters, 1851-1855: Death of a daughter

Summary

The letters from these years reveal the main preoccupations of Darwin’s life with a new intensity. The period opens with a family tragedy in the death of Darwin’s oldest and favourite daughter, Anne, and it shows how, weary and mourning his dead child,…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … been actively interested in animal breeding. As Darwin told Fox in a letter of 27 March [1855] , …
  • … doubt whether the subject will not quite overpower me.—’ Fox supplied him with a steady stream of …
  • … is perverse & will not do as I wish it’ ( letter to W. D. Fox, 7 May [1855] ). But, whether …

Darwin in letters, 1837–1843: The London years to 'natural selection'

Summary

The seven-year period following Darwin's return to England from the Beagle voyage was one of extraordinary activity and productivity in which he became recognised as a naturalist of outstanding ability, as an author and editor, and as a professional…

Matches: 9 hits

  • … variety of publications. The beetles were described by F. W. Hope, G. R. Waterhouse, and C. C. …
  • … distribution and classification (see Henslow 1837a and 1838; W. J. Hooker and G. A. W. Arnott 1836, …
  • … Jenyns, Waterhouse, and his second cousin, William Darwin Fox—knew, as he said to Henslow, he was …
  • … convince anyone that he had a sound solution to what J. F. W. Herschel in a letter to Lyell had …
  • … clearly  under sub-laws.' To his cousin, W. D. Fox, [25 January 1841] , he wrote: & …
  • … all crosses between all domestic birds & animals dogs, cats &c &c very valuable—' …
  • … on literature in this field and on friends like Henslow, T. C. Eyton, and W. D. Fox, who were …
  • … between species and varieties had no basis in reality (W. Herbert 1837, p. 341); species were only …
  • … so-called ‘science of morphology’, first set forth by J. W. von Goethe. Though widely accepted in …

The writing of "Origin"

Summary

From a quiet rural existence at Down in Kent, filled with steady work on his ‘big book’ on the transmutation of species, Darwin was jolted into action in 1858 by the arrival of an unexpected letter (no longer extant) from Alfred Russel Wallace outlining a…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … When I was in spirits I sometimes fancied that my book w d  be successful; but I never even built …
  • … myself that all was much alike, & if you condemned that you w  d . condemn all—my life’s work— …
  • … it is impossible that men like Lyell, Hooker, Huxley, H. C. Watson, Ramsay &c would change their …
  • … required a fresh act of intervention to supply the lacunas w  h . he himself had made’ (letter …
  • … a sort of instinct to try to make out truth’ (letter to W. D. Fox, 24 [March 1859] ). Yet he …

Darwin in letters, 1868: Studying sex

Summary

The quantity of Darwin’s correspondence increased dramatically in 1868 due largely to his ever-widening research on human evolution and sexual selection.Darwin’s theory of sexual selection as applied to human descent led him to investigate…

Matches: 8 hits

  • … to remuneration I shall look rather blank’ ( letter from W. S. Dallas, 8 January 1868 ). Darwin …
  • … well as of ‘victorious males getting wives’ ( letter to W. D. Fox, 25 February [1868] ). …
  • … pigeon magenta. To Weir, he wrote on 27 February : ‘It w d  be a fine trial to cut off the eyes …
  • … and had himself watched elephants cry (letters to W. E. Darwin, [15 March 1868] and 8 April …
  • … screaming in patients undergoing vaccination ( letter from W. E. Darwin, [7 April 1868] ). Francis …
  • … veins, and the action of his platysma muscle ( letter from W. E. Darwin, [15 April 1868] ). The …
  • … of everlasting woe?’ I am not sure whether it w d  not be wisest for scientific men …
  • … in a letter dated [8–10 September 1868] , ‘whether it w d  not be wisest for scientific men …

Scientific Practice

Summary

Specialism|Experiment|Microscopes|Collecting|Theory Letter writing is often seen as a part of scientific communication, rather than as integral to knowledge making. This section shows how correspondence could help to shape the practice of science, from…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … of the microscope. Letter 207 — Darwin, C. R. to Fox, W. D., 23 May 1833 Darwin …
  • … Owen might discuss the topic [in his contribution to J. F. W. Herschel, ed., Manual of scientific …

Darwin in letters, 1876: In the midst of life

Summary

1876 was the year in which the Darwins became grandparents for the first time.  And tragically lost their daughter-in-law, Amy, who died just days after her son's birth.  All the letters from 1876 are now published in volume 24 of The Correspondence…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … been cast by the ‘poorest curs in London’ ( letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, [4 February 1876] ). …
  • … of illness & misery there is in the world’ ( letter to W. D. Fox, 26 May [1876] ). A …
  • … we have & you are one of the best of all’ ( letter to W. E. Darwin, 11 September [1876] ). …
  • … herself & is so tender’ (letter from Emma Darwin to W. E. Darwin, [13 September 1876] (DAR 210.6 …
  • … recently completed autobiography (letter from Emma Darwin to W. E. Darwin, [13 September 1876] (DAR …
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