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Darwin Correspondence Project

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Variation under domestication

Summary

Sources|Discussion Questions|Experiment A fascination with domestication Throughout his working life, Darwin retained an interest in the history, techniques, practices, and processes of domestication. Artificial selection, as practiced by plant and…

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  • … DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. How does Darwin address Tegetmeier in his letters? How do you think …

Frank Chance

Summary

The Darwin archive not only contains letters, manuscript material, photographs, books and articles but also all sorts of small, dry specimens, mostly enclosed with letters. Many of these enclosures have become separated from the letters or lost altogether,…

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Scientific Networks

Summary

Friendship|Mentors|Class|Gender In its broadest sense, a scientific network is a set of connections between people, places, and things that channel the communication of knowledge, and that substantially determine both its intellectual form and content,…

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  • … correspondence. Other contacts such as William Bernard Tegetmeier and George Frederick Cupples, …
  • … correspondence with the poultry expert William Bernard Tegetmeier and the Scottish gardener John …

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…

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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…

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The evolution of honeycomb

Summary

Honeycombs are natural engineering marvels, using the least possible amount of wax to provide the greatest amount of storage space, with the greatest possible structural stability. Darwin recognised that explaining the evolution of the honey-bee’s comb…

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  • … .) By now not only Waterhouse but William Bernhard Tegetmeier (who had helped Darwin with his
  • Darwin made notes for their discussion in a memorandum to W. H. Miller, [15 April 1858] , …
  • Such were the views entertained many years back by Mr. W., and published by him in thePenny
  • with two other cells, and was rounded elsewhereMr. Tegetmeier remarked that he possessed a small
  • peculiarities. Darwin quickly arranged to look at Tegetmeiers piece of honeycomb (letter
  • correctly described their manner of building’ (letter to W. E. Darwin, [26 May 1858] .) To
  • proceedings?’ (Huber 1841, p. 269.) Darwin asked Tegetmeier to observe the beginning of the
  • and was thinking of ordering another hive from Tegetmeier, and buying a swarm (letter to W. B. …
  • the least possible expenditure of wax, but in September 1858 Tegetmeier was able to give Darwin
  • 15lb of sugar was consumed in the secretion of 1lb of wax. Tegetmeier also confirmed Darwins
  • the application of geometry. His observations, and those of Tegetmeier and others, had proved that

Darwin in letters, 1871: An emptying nest

Summary

The year 1871 was an extremely busy and productive one for Darwin, with the publication in February of his long-awaited book on human evolution, Descent of man. The other main preoccupation of the year was the preparation of his manuscript on expression.…

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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…

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Women’s scientific participation

Summary

Observers | Fieldwork | Experimentation | Editors and critics | Assistants Darwin’s correspondence helps bring to light a community of women who participated, often actively and routinely, in the nineteenth-century scientific community. Here is a…

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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,…

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Descent

Summary

There are more than five hundred letters associated with the research and writing of Darwin’s book, Descent of man and selection in relation to sex (Descent). They trace not only the tortuous route to eventual publication, but the development of Darwin’s…

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  • … old letters ’. A story of a dog who howled whenever B flat was played on a flute was winnowed …

Origin

Summary

Darwin’s most famous work, Origin, had an inauspicious beginning. It grew out of his wish to establish priority for the species theory he had spent over twenty years researching. Darwin never intended to write Origin, and had resisted suggestions in 1856…

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  • … & have just killed all the scores of cross-breds’, he told W. B. Tegetmeier on 8 September, …

Darwin and Fatherhood

Summary

Charles Darwin married Emma Wedgwood in 1839 and over the next seventeen years the couple had ten children. It is often assumed that Darwin was an exceptional Victorian father. But how extraordinary was he? The Correspondence Project allows an unusually…

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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 aspects of the…

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  • … . As on previous occasions, Darwin offered payment to Tegetmeier for his labours, writing on 26 …
  • … the colour sense of birds. On 17 March , he encouraged Tegetmeier to paint a pigeon magenta. To …

Darwin’s reading notebooks

Summary

In April 1838, Darwin began recording the titles of books he had read and the books he wished to read in Notebook C (Notebooks, pp. 319–28). In 1839, these lists were copied and continued in separate notebooks. The first of these reading notebooks (DAR 119…

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  • … The Highlands & Western Isl ds  letter to Sir W Scott [MacCulloch 1824] at Maer? W. F. …
  • … “Ancient & Modern Tattle” on Fish [Badham 1854]. M r  Tegetmeier says very curious.— …
  • … 1854] [DAR 128: 14] 1855 Sept. Tegetmeier on Poultry [Tegetmeier 1856–7 …

Darwin in letters, 1864: Failing health

Summary

On receiving a photograph from Charles Darwin, the American botanist Asa Gray wrote on 11 July 1864: ‘the venerable beard gives the look of your having suffered, and … of having grown older’.  Because of poor health, Because of poor health, Darwin…

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  • … crossing experiments with hollyhocks, and William Bernhard Tegetmeier about his pigeon breeding. To …