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Darwin in letters, 1880: Sensitivity and worms


‘My heart & soul care for worms & nothing else in this world,’ Darwin wrote to his old Shrewsbury friend Henry Johnson on 14 November 1880. Darwin became fully devoted to earthworms in the spring of the year, just after finishing the manuscript of…

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  • heart & soul care for worms & nothing else in this world,’ Darwin wrote to his old
  • to adapt to varying conditions. The implications of Darwins work for the boundary between animals
  • studies of animal instincts by George John Romanes drew upon Darwins early observations of infants, …
  • of evolution and creation. Many letters flowed between Darwin and his children, as he took delight
  • Financial support for science was a recurring issue, as Darwin tried to secure a Civil List pension
  • with Samuel Butler, prompted by the publication of Erasmus Darwin the previous year. …
  • Charles Harrison Tindal, sent a cache of letters from two of Darwins grandfathers clerical friends
  • divines to see a pigs body opened is very amusing’, Darwin replied, ‘& that about my
  • registry offices, and produced a twenty-page history of the Darwin family reaching back to the
  • … & even the world’ ( letter from J. L. Chester, 3 March 1880 ). Darwins sons George and
  • of [William Alvey Darwin],’ George wrote on 28 May 1880 , ‘Isaid you were anxious not to
  • letter from W. E. Darwin to Charles and Emma Darwin, 22 July 1880 ). Sales of Erasmus
  • new was published). Butler wrote to Darwin on 2 January 1880 for an explanation: ‘Among the
  • I did not do so’ ( letter to Samuel Butler, 3 January 1880 ). At the top of Butlers letter, Emma
  • an article upon’ ( letter from W. E. Darwin, [28 January 1880] ). Butler had once been an
  • the public’ ( letter from Samuel Butler, 21 January 1880 ). He stated his case in the Athen
  • Henrietta ( letter to H. E. Litchfield, 1 February [1880] ). ‘The world will only knowthat you
  • she warned ( letter from H. E. Litchfield, [1 February 1880] ). ‘He is a virulent Salamander of a
  • husband Richard ( letter from R. B. Litchfield, 1 February 1880 ). Even the great controversialist
  • a horrid disease’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 3 February 1880 ). All went quiet until
  • to an elephant’ ( letter from Ernst Krause, 9 December 1880 ). Again, Darwin felt compelled to
  • behave so differently.’ ( Letter to Asa Gray, 17 February 1880 .) But Gray had based his

3.8 Leonard Darwin, interior photo


< Back to Introduction Leonard Darwin, who created the distinctive image of his father sitting on the verandah at Down House, also portrayed him as a melancholy philosopher. His head, brightly lit from above, emerges from the enveloping darkness; he…

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  • … &lt; Back to Introduction Leonard Darwin, who created the distinctive image of his father
  • is here an obvious relationship to Oulesss painting of Darwin, and to the photographs taken by
  • on a boys mind?’ This was written as late as 1929, when Leonard was himself nearly eighty, but it
  • descriptions of him. At the same time, photographs of Darwin taken by his family and friends have an
  • Magazine. Desmond and Moore, in their biography of Darwin, captioned itabout 1874’, while
  • would need to have been early in that year. A letter which Leonard wrote to his father from Brompton
  • … (unspecified, and now absent) might refer to the portrait of Darwin, although a pencilled note on
  • he took it in 1878.   It was this photograph which Leonard himself sent to Anthony Rich, a
  • and illustrator, created a bold wood-engraved image of Darwins head and shoulders from Leonards
  • Leipzig in 1882 . Francis Darwin lent the woodburytype of Leonards photograph to Edward Woodall, …
  • A portrait photographon china from the negative by Leonard Darwin’, lent to the 1909 exhibition by
  • University Library 
 originator of image Leonard Darwin 
 date of creation
  • references and bibliography DAR 186.34 (DCP-LETT-11484), Leonard Darwins letter to his father, …
  • Darwin’, is signed by Darwin with the dateFeb. 22 d 1880’, but this was when the photograph was

3.7 Leonard Darwin, photo on verandah


< Back to Introduction Like the anonymous photograph of Darwin on horseback in front of Down House, Leonard Darwin’s photograph of him sitting in a wicker chair on the verandah was originally just a family memento. However, as Darwin’s high…

Matches: 13 hits

  • to Introduction Like the anonymous photograph of Darwin on horseback in front of Down
  • entered the public sphere. Thus a wood engraving of Leonard Darwins photograph featured in the
  • Alfred Russel Wallaces articleThe debt of science to Darwin’. Furthermore, Wallaces article was
  • greenhouses and pathsas the essential context of Darwins hallowed endeavours: hisloving, …
  • scatter of shapes seen through the drawing-room window in Leonards photograph, giving a stronger
  • to the frontispiece and in his catalogue of portraits of Darwin, Francis Darwin tentatively dated
  • inscription on the back of DAR 225.1, which dated it toc.1880’, and this suggestion has been
  • and perhaps not entirely fortuitous resemblance between Leonards photograph of his father and
  • all attention directed to the subjects characterful head. Darwin sits in his habitual posehands
  • as the main source for Boehms commemorative portrayal of Darwin in the marble statue installed in
  • University of Turinphysical location Darwin archive, Cambridge University Library
  • Library 
 originator of image Leonard Darwin 
 date of creation not
  • Century Magazine , 25:3 (Jan. 1883), with a facsimile of Darwins signature, and signed by the

Casting about: Darwin on worms


Earthworms were the subject of a citizen science project to map the distribution of earthworms across Britain (BBC Today programme, 26 May 2014). The general understanding of the role earthworms play in improving soils and providing nutrients for plants to…

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  • for plants to flourish can be traced back to the last book Darwin wrote, snappily-titled The
  • on their habits, which was published in 1881. Despite Darwins fears that a book on earthworms might
  • out in his Natural History of Selborne of 1789 (a book Darwin claimed hadmuch influence on my
  • a new field in natural history, and almost a century later Darwin argued that all fields had passed
  • variety of strange things he persuaded people to do. Darwin concluded that worms had no sense
  • a metal whistle and to being shouted at, but also to Francis Darwin playing the bassoon, and to Emma
  • whether worms possessed the power to lift a pavement. Leonard and George made calculations about
  • realising that this negative evidence was also valuable to Darwin. Thomas Henry Farrer , …
  • existence of worms at that altitude. By the 1870s, Darwin was also drawing on the work of
  • him. Soon worm excrement was trusted to postal services, and Darwin acquired casts from India and
  • present!’ ( letter to W. T. Thiselton Dyer, 23 November [1880] (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)). In
  • bigger souls than anyone wd suppose’ ( letter to W. E. Darwin, 31 January [1881] (CUL DAR 210.6: …

Darwin in letters, 1879: Tracing roots


Darwin spent a considerable part of 1879 in the eighteenth century. His journey back in time started when he decided to publish a biographical account of his grandfather Erasmus Darwin to accompany a translation of an essay on Erasmus’s evolutionary ideas…

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  • There are summaries of all Darwin's letters from the year 1879 on this website.  The full texts
  • 27 of the print edition of The correspondence of Charles Darwin , published by Cambridge
  • to publish a biographical account of his grandfather Erasmus Darwin to accompany a translation of an
  • the sensitivity of the tips. Despite this breakthrough, when Darwin first mentioned the book to his
  • 1879 ). He was also unsatisfied with his account of Erasmus Darwin, declaring, ‘My little biography
  • a holiday in the Lake District in August did little to raise Darwins spirits. ‘I wish that my
  • W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, [after 26] July [1879] ). From July, Darwin had an additional worry: the
  • that his grandfather had felt the same way. In 1792, Erasmus Darwin had written: ‘The worst thing I
  • contained a warmer note and the promise of future happiness: Darwin learned he was to be visited by
  • Hacon, 31 December 1879 ). Seventy years old Darwins seventieth birthday on 12
  • the veteran of Modern Zoology’, but it was in Germany that Darwin was most fêted. A German
  • … ). The masters of Greiz College in Thuringia venerated Darwin asthe deep thinker’, while
  • accepted in Germany. ‘On this festive day’, Haeckel told Darwin, ‘you can look back, with justified
  • Hermann Müller wrote on 12 February to wish Darwin along and serene evening of life’. This
  • on the theory of development in connection with Charles Darwin and Ernst Haeckel. Kosmos was, as
  • itvery dull,—almost too dull to publish’, while Leonard Darwin considered that insufficient
  • … ( letter to G. H. Darwin, 12 July 1879 , and letter from Leonard Darwin, [before 12 July] 1879
  • survived the ordeal as his paper was published by Sachs in 1880. Family matters Before
  • Darwin found the innvery comfortable’, but told Leonard Darwin on 12 August that there

Darwin in letters, 1882: Nothing too great or too small


In 1882, Darwin reached his 74th year Earthworms had been published the previous October, and for the first time in decades he was not working on another book. He remained active in botanical research, however. Building on his recent studies in plant…

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  • In 1882, Darwin reached his 74th year Earthworms had been published the previous
  • for scientific colleagues or their widows facing hardship. Darwin had suffered from poor health
  • of his scientific friends quickly organised a campaign for Darwin to have greater public recognition
  • Botanical observation and experiment had long been Darwins greatest scientific pleasure. The year
  • to Fritz Müller, 4 January 1882 ). These were topics that Darwin had been investigating for years, …
  • working at the effects of Carbonate of Ammonia on roots,’ Darwin wrote, ‘the chief result being that
  • for some hours in a weak solution of C. of Ammonia’. Darwins interest in root response and the
  • London on 6 and 16 March, respectively. In January, Darwin corresponded with George John
  • vol. 28, letter from Arthur de Souza Corrêa, 20 October 1880 , and Correspondence vol. 29, …
  • experiments had been conducted to lend support to Darwins theory of pangenesis (see
  • He was eager to write up the results on Brazilian cane, with Darwin providing a detailed outline: ‘I
  • at the Linnean Society on 4 May, but not published. Darwin carried on with botanical work in
  • which are asymmetric, thus facilitating cross-fertilisation. Darwins aim, he said, was just to
  • 3 April 1882 ). Earthworms and evolution Darwins last book, Earthworms , had been
  • Appendix V). The conservative Quarterly Review , owned by Darwins publisher John Murray, carried
  • themselves’ ( Quarterly Review , January 1882, p. 179). Darwin commented at length on the review
  • is a young man &amp; a worker in any branch of Biology,’ Darwin continued, ‘he will assuredly sooner
  • and professor of ecclesiastical history Henry Wace. Darwin was confident that the theory of
  • James Frederick Simpson, a musical composer, had provided Darwin with observations on worm behaviour
  • by the benefits of worms to soil composition. He asked Darwin about the nitrogen content in the
  • H. Gilbert, 12 January 1882 ). In Earthworms , p. 305, Darwin had remarked on the creatures’ …
  • in a draw, with both combatants the worse for wear. Darwins writing on human evolution
  • extracts from the diary of Bronson Alcott, who, like Darwin, had made detailed observations of his
  • Anthony Rich, he shared several of his sonsachievements. Leonard had been appointed to observe the
  • is always easier to write than to speak,’ she wrote to Leonard, ‘&amp; so though I shall see you so
  • … &amp; have been able to be to him’ (letter from Emma Darwin to Leonard Darwin, [21? April 1882] (DAR

1.15 Albert Goodwin, watercolour


< Back to Introduction In 1880 the watercolourist Albert Goodwin was apparently invited to Down to produce that rare thing – a portrait of Darwin with members of his family. As Henrietta Litchfield, Darwin’s daughter, explained when she reproduced it…

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  • … &lt; Back to Introduction In 1880 the watercolourist Albert Goodwin was apparently
  • for a biography’, that, after she married and left Down, Darwin had adopted her dog Polly, and
  • on the garden side of Down House evidently became one of Darwins favourite places, as his decline
  • beds of flowers in bloom, the sunny sky and flocks of birds. Darwins children had particularly fond
  • these recollectionsThe work belonged to Horace Darwin, Darwins youngest surviving son, …
  • husband as a wedding present for Horace when he married in 1880. Two years later, Goodwin produced
  • of life at Down that were purveyed to the public after Darwins death. Many photographs were taken
  • by Alfred Parsons also depicted these places, especially Darwins favourite haunts: now poignantly
  • 1882, to accompany an article by Alfred Russel Wallace on Darwins scientific achievements, and a
  • London News in 1887 for an article headedThe late Mr. Darwin’ (see separate catalogue entry). …
  • of incident, and grasp of topography evidently appealed to Darwin himself, as the family had already
  • in the drawing room at Down, and escaped the criticism which Darwin directed at much of the fine art
  • left, ‘A. Goodwin/ 80’ 
 date of creation 1880 
 computer-readable date 1880-01
  • Alfred Russel Wallace , ‘The debt of science to Darwin’, Century Magazine , 25 (Nov. 1882 – …
  • 1909), p. 5, nos. 16 and 17. Henrietta Litchfield, Emma Darwin: A Century of Family Letters 1792
  • for a biography’, Cambridge University Library, Darwin archive, DAR 262.23: 1. Leonard Darwin, …

2.7 Joseph Moore, Midland Union medal


< Back to Introduction The Midland Union was an association of natural history societies and field clubs across the Midland counties, intended to facilitate – especially through its journal The Midland Naturalist – ‘the interchange of ideas’ and…

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  • It was decided at the Unions annual meeting in July 1880 to award an annualDarwin Prizefor the
  • which could include, if he chose, a specially designedDarwin medalin either gold or bronze. The
  • and useful work’. A Manchester Guardian article, ‘Darwin and local scientific societies’, …
  • figure, and there was added pride in his Midland origins. Darwins permission had been sought for
  • with characteristic kindness and absence of condescension. Darwin wrote, ‘their wish to name the
  • source of happiness throughout life’.The design of the Darwin medal was appropriately entrusted to
  • his own determined efforts. His bust-length portrayal of Darwin in three-quarter view, signed in
  • On the reverse an inscription runs round the edge: ‘The Darwin medal founded by the Midland Union of
  • date of creation designed and first produced in 1880 
 computer-readable date 1880-01-01
  • and bibliography letter to E. W. Badger, [19 July 1880], DCP-LETT-12660. ‘Encouragement of
  • and Field Clubs of the Midland Counties , 3:32 (August 1880), preface and pp. 1812. Journal of

Life of Erasmus Darwin


The Life of Erasmus Darwin (1879) was a curious departure for Darwin. It was intended as a biographical note to accompany an essay on Erasmus's scientific work by the German writer Ernst Krause. But Darwin became immersed in his grandfather's…

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  • … scientific work by the German writer Ernst Krause. But Darwin became immersed in his grandfather& …
  • … his grandfather's mind and character. To compose the work, Darwin gathered materials and …
  • … book into grist for controversy.  In February 1879, Darwin received an unusual birthday …
  • … an essay by Ernst Krause on the evolutionary ideas of Darwin's grandfather. Darwin was familiar …
  • … poems, The Botanic Garden and Temple of Nature . But Darwin had never known his grandfather, …
  • … '; ' It piles up the glory and would please Francis '. Darwin's cousin, …
  • … 'men of science'. The biographical sketch was thus a way for Darwin to trace his own …
  • … character. Once a celebrated poet and philosopher, Erasmus Darwin's fame had declined sharply …
  • … wholly & shamefully ignorant of my grandfathers life ', Darwin wrote to Krause on 14 March …
  • … storehouse of private thoughts and experiences. Reading it, Darwin said, was like ' having …
  • … Priory where he resided at his death, both appeared in Darwin's Life .   & …
  • … word “benevolent” has always been associated with Dr. Darwin by his friends '. She recalled an …
  • … bedside & made him a sign to be silent. He then said “Dr. Darwin I am the Jockey who is to ride …
  • … just at the last, & come in third or fourth'.  Darwin tried to verify such tales …
  • … in the Life , pp. 63–5.  One of Darwin's aims in assembling these episodes …
  • … which had been tarnished by previous biographies. Many of Darwin's relations had expressed …
  • … stirred the pot with his next book Unconscious Memory (1880), devoting several entire chapters …
  • … rallied round and debated the best course of action. His son Leonard suggested inserting a flysheet …