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Darwin in letters, 1879: Tracing roots

Summary

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…

Matches: 19 hits

  • 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
  • that his grandfather had felt the same way. In 1792, Erasmus Darwin had written: ‘The worst thing I
  • all over like a baked pear’ ( enclosure in letter from R. W. Dixon, 20 December 1879 ). The year
  • 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
  • nice and good as could be’ ( letter from Karl Beger, [ c. 12 February 1879] ). The masters of
  • of the Admiralty described the unknown young man asA M r Darwin grandson of the well known
  • Darwin, 28 May [1879] ). On the Galton side of the family, Elizabeth Anne Wheler, who was pleased
  • him on 9 June not toexpend much powder & shot on M r  Butler’, for he really was not worth
  • 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
  • the highest point, for hiswhy”—“what for” &c are incessant’, Darwin joked on 2 July (first
  • In August, Bernard accompanied his grandparents, Aunt Elizabeth (Bessy) Darwin, and Henrietta and
  • Darwin found the innvery comfortable’, but told Leonard Darwin on 12 August that there
  • is his profession thonot a profitable one; also D r  C[lark]’s opinion that he was so likely to
  • and preventCattle diseases, Potato diseases &c’, probably did not know that Darwin had already

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: 21 hits

  • 1874 was one of consolidation, reflection, and turmoil for Darwin. He spent the early months working
  • dispute over an anonymous review that attacked the work of Darwins son George dominated the second
  • and traveller Alexander von Humboldts 105th birthday, Darwin obliged with a reflection on his debt
  • be done by observation during prolonged intervals’ ( letter to D. T. Gardner, [ c . 27 August
  • pleasures of shooting and collecting beetles ( letter from W. D. Fox, 8 May [1874] ).  Such
  • Andone looks backwards much more than forwards’ ( letter to W. D. Fox, 11 May [1874] ). …
  • Andrew Clark, whom he had been consulting since August 1873. Darwin had originally thought that
  • was an illusory hope.— I feel very old & helpless’  ( letter to B. J. Sulivan, 6 January [1874] …
  • 1874 ). Séances, psychics, and sceptics Darwin excused himself for reasons of
  • by George Henry Lewes and Marian Evans (George Eliot), but Darwin excused himself, finding it too
  • the month, another Williams séance was held at the home of Darwins cousin Hensleigh Wedgwood. Those
  • Descent  was published in November 1874 ( letter from R. F. Cooke, 12 November 1874 ). Though
  • on subsequent print runs would be very good ( letter from R. F. Cooke, 12 November 1874 ). …
  • in sympathy: ‘If anybody tries that on with my boy Leonard the old wolf will shew all the fangs he
  • … [1874] ). At the end of June, Darwins fourth son, Leonard, who had joined the Royal
  • son of the Astronomer Royal, George Biddell Airy, to help Leonard gain the commission ( …
  • took twelve weeks aboard the immigrant ship  Merope . Leonard joined a colourful collection of
  • in a few hours dissolve the hardest cartilage, bone & meat &c. &c.’ ( letter to W. D. …
  • whether at theclose of the putrefaction of flesh, skin &c, any substance is produced before
  • letter John Murray, 9 May [1874] ). He communicated Mary Elizabeth Barbers paper on the pupae of
  • Sharpe for promotion at the British Museum ( letter to R. B. Sharpe, 24 November [1874] ).  He

Fake Darwin: myths and misconceptions

Summary

Many myths have persisted about Darwin's life and work. Here are a few of the more pervasive ones, with full debunking below...

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Many myths have persisted about Darwin's life and work. Here are a few of the more pervasive …

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…

Matches: 22 hits

  • …   On 6 March 1868, Darwin wrote to the entomologist and accountant John Jenner Weir, ‘If any
  • he ought to do what I am doing pester them with letters.’ Darwin was certainly true to his word. The
  • and sexual selection. In  Origin , pp. 8790, Darwin had briefly introduced the concept of
  • in satisfying female preference in the mating process. In a letter to Alfred Russel Wallace in 1864, …
  • to the stridulation of crickets. At the same time, Darwin continued to collect material on
  • his immediate circle of friends and relations. In July 1868 Darwin was still anticipating that his
  • which was devoted to sexual selection in the animal kingdom. Darwin described his thirst for
  • as well say, he would drink a little and not too much’ ( letter to Albert Günther, 15 May [1868] ) …
  • in January 1868. A final delay caused by the indexing gave Darwin much vexation. ‘My book is
  • 1867 and had expected to complete it in a fortnight. But at Darwins request, he modified his
  • the text. This increased the amount of work substantially. Darwin asked Murray to intervene, …
  • … … though it would be a great loss to the Book’. But Darwins angry letter to Murray crossed one from
  • it was by Gray himself, but Darwin corrected him: ‘D r  Gray would strike me in the face, but not
  • … . It is a disgrace to the paper’ ( letter from A. R. Wallace, 24 February [1868] ). The review was
  • April 1868 . The letter was addressed tothe Rev d  C. Darwin M.d’; Binstead evidently assumed
  • I did not see this, or rather I saw it only obs[c]urely, & have kept only a few references.’ …
  • as life he wd find the odour sexual!’ ( letter to A . R. Wallace, 16 September [1868] ). Francis
  • Edmund Langton wrote from the south of France to Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood on 9 Novembe r, …
  • of her two-month old daughter Katherine ( letter from C. M. Hawkshaw to Emma Darwin, 9 February
  • Africa, Darwin received from Hooker an account by Mary Elizabeth Barber of local variations in the
  • rest mostly on faith, and on accumulation of adaptations, &c) … Of course I understand your
  • … ( letter from Alfred Newton, 29 January 1868 ). Leonard also excelled in highly competitive

Darwin’s observations on his children

Summary

Charles Darwin’s observations on the development of his children, began the research that culminated in his book The Expression of the emotions in man and animals, published in 1872, and his article ‘A biographical sketch of an infant’, published in Mind…

Matches: 25 hits

  • Charles Darwins observations on the development of his children,[1began the
  • is available below . As with much of his other work, Darwin gathered additional information on the
  • lunatics, the blind, and animals. And as early as 1839 Darwin had begun to collect information on
  • the expression of emotions. As the following transcript of Darwins notes reveals, he closely
  • William Erasmus, the stages of his development suggesting to Darwin those expressions which are
  • The tone of the manuscript reflects an aspect of Darwins character clearly perceived by Emma during
  • … “What does that prove”.’[6For in these notes, Darwins deep scientific curiosity transcends his
  • that on occasion he refers to William asit’. Darwin possessed the ability to dissociate
  • memories.[8Yet, though the dissociation was essential for Darwins scientific goal, the notes here
  • until September 1844. Parallels in the development of Anne Elizabeth, born 2 March 1841, were also
  • the record breaks off until January 1852, by which time the Darwin family had increased by five: …
  • of muscles, without a corresponding sensation. D r . Holland[12informs me children do not
  • our door N o  12 and N o  11 is in the slit for the Letter box.— he decidedly ran past N o  11
  • has learned them from my sometimes changing the first letter in any word he is usingthus I say
  • 35  & to take a crust, when their pudding was finished.— Elizabeth[45remarked him careful
  • trowsers. Emma one morning put on an unconspicuous bonnet of C. Langton,[52W. instantly observed
  • flower garden perceived them, said they were not Dzivers (Elizabeths) flowers. ie were not natural
  • she added an s to the end of every wordEttis & Bettis &c afterwards all the ws were turned
  • goed dawn to the willage”. Fish for Smith. Kaw for cow. &c. Lenny[612 years old speaks
  • any thing with my egg. Miss Th. Shall I cut up y r  meat? L. I dont care whether you do or
  • … “But I could not help it”— I saidLenny you c d  help it, dont say that”. “I could not help it a
  • … , pp. 1312. [6Correspondence  vol. 2, letter from Emma Wedgwood, [23 January 1839] . …
  • and family memoirs and reminiscences. [61Leonard Darwin, born 1850. [62Francis
  • of her childhood, Henrietta Litchfield remembered Leonard Darwin saying this to their maid Jane and
  • CUL). [71Horace Darwin, born 1851. [72Leonard Darwins nickname. [73Miss

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: 25 hits

  • At the start of 1869, Darwin was hard at work making changes and additions for a fifth edition of  …
  • appeared at the end of 1866 and had told his cousin William Darwin Fox, ‘My work will have to stop a
  • … & I am sick of correcting’ ( Correspondence  vol. 16, letter to W. D. Fox, 12 December [1868
  • Well it is a beginning, & that is something’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, [22 January 1869] ). …
  • material on emotional expression. Yet the scope of Darwins interests remained extremely broad, and
  • plants, and earthworms, subjects that had exercised Darwin for decades, and that would continue to
  • Carl von  Nägeli and perfectibility Darwins most substantial addition to  Origin  was a
  • a Swiss botanist and professor at Munich (Nägeli 1865). Darwin had considered Nägelis paper
  • principal engine of change in the development of species. Darwin correctly assessed Nägelis theory
  • in most morphological features (Nägeli 1865, p. 29). Darwin sent a manuscript of his response (now
  • made any blunders, as is very likely to be the case’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 13 January 1869 ). …
  • are & must be morphological’. The comment highlights Darwins apparent confusion about Nägelis
  • … ‘purely morphological’. The modern reader may well share Darwins uncertainty, but Nägeli evidently
  • pp. 289). In further letters, Hooker tried to provide Darwin with botanical examples he could use
  • problems of heredity Another important criticism that Darwin sought to address in the fifth
  • prevailing theory of blending inheritance that Jenkin and Darwin both shared, would tend to be lost
  • … ( Origin  5th ed., pp. 1034). The terminology that Darwin and others employed in these matters ( …
  • than I now see is possible or probable’ (see also letter to A. R. Wallace, 22 January [1869] , …
  • of information which I have sent prove of any service to M r . Darwin I can supply him with much
  • … & proximate cause in regard to Man’ ( letter to A. R. Wallace, 14 April 1869 ).  More
  • and the bird of paradise  (Wallace 1869a; letter to A. R. Wallace, 22 March [1869] ), and
  • species that Darwin had investigated in depth ( letter from C. F. Claus, 6 February 1869 ). In a
  • genus that he had studied in the early 1860s ( letter to W. C. Tait, 12 and 16 March 1869 ). This
  • whole meeting was decidedly Huxleys answer to D r  M c Cann. He literally poured boiling oil
  • grandfather, Erasmus, to two of Darwins sons (George and Leonard), who had recently excelled in

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,…

Matches: 10 hits

  • and colonial authorities. In the nineteenth-century, letter writing was one of the most important
  • when strong institutional structures were largely absent. Darwin had a small circle of scientific
  • in times of uncertainty, controversy, or personal loss. Letter writing was not only a means of
  • section contains two sets of letters. The first is between Darwin and his friend Kew botanist J. D. …
  • and he is curious about Hookers thoughts. Letter 729Darwin, C. R. to Hooker, J. D., …
  • to Hookerit is like confessing a murder”. Letter 736Darwin, C. R. to Hooker, J. D. …
  • of wide-ranging species to wide-ranging genera. Darwin and Gray Letter 1674
  • species. Letter 1685Gray, Asa to Darwin, C. R., 22 May 1855 Gray recalled
  • offered the Beagle naturalist appointment first to Leonard Jenyns, who almost accepted, as did
  • In this letter, naturalist, artist, and writer Mary Elizabeth Barber replies to Queries on

Darwin in letters, 1880: Sensitivity and worms

Summary

‘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…

Matches: 21 hits

  • 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
  • have influenced the whole Kingdom, & even the world’ ( letter from J. L. Chester, 3 March 1880
  • Darwins Life . ‘In an endeavour to explain away y r . treatment of [William Alvey Darwin],’ …
  • delighted to find an ordinary mortal who could laugh’ ( letter from W. E. Darwin to Charles and
  • much powder & shot’ ( Correspondence vol. 27, letter from Ernst Krause, 7 June 1879 , and
  • by anticipation the position I have taken as regards D r Erasmus Darwin in my book Evolution old
  • to the end’, added her husband Richard ( letter from R. B. Litchfield, 1 February 1880 ). Even the
  • shake their heads in the same dismal manner as you & M r . Murray did, when I told them my
  • in a book about beetles the impressive wordscaptured by C. Darwin”. … This seemed to me glory
  • … ‘but the subject has amused me’ ( letter to W. C. McIntosh, 18 June 1880 ). Members of the family
  • great doctrines …“Come of Age”‘ ( letter from W. C. Williamson to Emma Darwin, 2 September 1880 ). …
  • for the Wedgwood nieces. Later in the year, Emmas sister Elizabeth Wedgwood died at her home, …
  • his voice as clearly as if he were present’ (letters to C. W. Fox, 29 March 1880 and 10 [April

Darwin in letters, 1865: Delays and disappointments

Summary

The year was marked by three deaths of personal significance to Darwin: Hugh Falconer, a friend and supporter; Robert FitzRoy, captain of the Beagle; and William Jackson Hooker, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and father of Darwin’s friend…

Matches: 20 hits

  • In 1865, the chief work on Charles Darwins mind was the writing of  The variation of animals and
  • letters on climbing plants to make another paper. Darwin also submitted a manuscript of his
  • protégé, John Scott, who was now working in India. Darwins transmutation theory continued to
  • Argyll, appeared in the religious weeklyGood Words . Darwin received news of an exchange of
  • Butler, and, according to Butler, the bishop of Wellington. Darwins theory was discussed at an
  • in the  GardenersChronicleAt the end of the year, Darwin was elected an honorary member of
  • year was marked by three deaths of personal significance to Darwin: Hugh Falconer, a friend of
  • in August. There was also a serious dispute between two of Darwins friends, John Lubbock and
  • a sudden illness. Falconer was 56, almost the same age as Darwin himself. Falconer had seconded
  • had failed to include among the grounds of the award ( see letter from Hugh Falconer to Erasmus
  • his letters to Darwin, and Darwin responded warmly: ‘Your letter is by far the grandest eulogium
  • may well rest content that I have not laboured in vain’ ( letter to Hugh Falconer, 6 January [1865] …
  • always a most kind friend to me. So the world goes.—’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 2 February [1865] …
  • Darwin had received a copy of Müllers bookFür Darwin , a study of the Crustacea with reference
  • … … inheritance, reversion, effects of use & disuse &c’, and which he intended to publish in
  • He wrote to Hooker, ‘I doubt whether you or I or any one c d  do any good in healing this breach. …
  • Hookers behalf, ‘He asks if you saw the article of M r . Croll in the last Reader on the
  • letter from Edward Cresy, 10 September 1865 ). Francis and Leonard were still at school in Clapham, …
  • Wales rented by the Hensleigh Wedgwoods for the summer, and Elizabeth was evidently attending school
  • … ‘As for your thinking that you do not deserve the C[opley] Medal,’ he rebuked Hooker, ‘that I

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: 24 hits

  • The seven-year period following Darwin's return to England from the Beagle  voyage was one
  • a family Busy as he was with scientific activities, Darwin found time to re-establish family
  • close contact. In November 1838, two years after his return, Darwin became engaged to his cousin, …
  • 1842, the family, now increased by a daughter, Anne Elizabeth, moved to Down House in Kent, where
  • his greatest theoretical achievement, the most important of Darwins activities during the years
  • identifications of his bird and fossil mammal specimens, Darwin arrived at the daring and momentous
  • ideas on a wide range of topics. Then, in September 1838, T. R. Malthus’  An essay on the principle
  • in species. With this new theoretical point of departure Darwin continued to make notes and explore
  • present in the version of 1859. Young author Darwins investigation of the species
  • the  Beagle  had returned to England, news of some of Darwins findings had been spread by the
  • great excitement. The fuller account of the voyage and Darwins discoveries was therefore eagerly
  • suitable categories for individual experts to work upon, Darwin applied himself to the revision of
  • of the surveying voyage of H.M.S. Adventure and Beagle. Darwins volume bore the title  Journal
  • visited by H.M.S. BeagleAlso in November 1837, Darwin read the fourth of a series of papers to
  • to the Society of 9 March 1838), had been developed by Darwin from a suggestion made by his uncle, …
  • Fossil Mammalia , by Richard OwenMammalia , by G. R. WaterhouseBirds , by John Gould;  …
  • publications. The beetles were described by F. W. Hope, G. R. Waterhouse, and C. C. Babington; the
  • letters have suffered an even more severe loss. In a letter to Lyells sister-in-law, Katharine
  • of fact . . . on the origin & variation of species” ( Letter to J. S. Henslow, [November 1839] …
  • that he had a sound solution to what J. F. W. Herschel in a letter to Lyell had called themystery
  • about searching for evidence to support his hypothesis. In a letter to Lyell, [14] September [1838
  • all crosses between all domestic birds & animals dogs, cats &c &c very valuable—' …
  • the practice of systematists. As the correspondence with G. R. Waterhouse during the 1840s shows, …
  • just the same, though I know what I am looking for' ( Letter to G. R. Waterhouse, [26 July

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…

Matches: 26 hits

  • In April 1838, Darwin began recording the titles of books he had read and the books he wished to
  • … (DAR 119) opens with five pages of text copied from Notebook C and carries on through 1851; the
  • used these notebooks extensively in dating and annotating Darwins letters; the full transcript
  • … *128). For clarity, the transcript does not record Darwins alterations. The spelling and
  • book had been consulted. Those cases where it appears that Darwin made a genuine deletion have been
  • a few instances, primarily in theBooks Readsections, Darwin recorded that a work had been
  • of the books listed in the other two notebooks. Sometimes Darwin recorded that an abstract of the
  • own. Soon after beginning his first reading notebook, Darwin began to separate the scientific
  • the second reading notebook. Readers primarily interested in Darwins scientific reading, therefore, …
  • editorsidentification of the book or article to which Darwin refers. A full list of these works is
  • page number (or numbers, as the case may be) on which Darwins entry is to be found. The
  • to be Read [DAR *119: Inside Front Cover] C. Darwin June 1 st . 1838
  • … [DAR *119: 2v.] Whites regular gradation in man [C. White 1799] Lindleys
  • … [Reimarius 1760] The Highlands & Western Isl ds  letter to Sir W Scott [MacCulloch 1824
  • 183440]: In Portfolio ofabstracts34  —letter from Skuckard of books on Silk Worm
  • M rs  Frys Life [Fry 1847] Horace Walpoles letter to C t . of Ossory [Walpole 1848] …
  • … [Fellows 1839] Catherine 48 Life of Collins R.A. [Collins 1848] Phases of Faith
  • th . Humes Hist of England [Hume 1763]. to beginning of Elizabeth. Sept 14 th . 4 first
  • on chemistry (Liebig 1851). 50  Probably Elizabeth Wedgwood. 51  This
  • 1848Memoirs of the life of William   Collins, Esq., R.A.  2 vols. London.  *119: 23; 119: …
  • of the   Devereux, Earls of Essex, in the reigns of Elizabeth, James I.,   and Charles I., 1540
  • eds.] [Abstract in DAR 91: 13.]  119: 9b Horner, Leonard, ed. 1843Memoirs and
  • by Richard Owen.  Vol. 4 of  The works of John Hunter, F.R.S. with notes . Edited by James F. …
  • …   conflict . 3 vols. London128: 25 Jenyns, Leonard. 1838. Further remarks on the
  • dit jardin.  Augsbourg128: 16 [Knapp, John Leonard]. 1829Journal of a   …
  • Robert. 1843Memoirs of the life of John   Constable, R.A., composed chiefly of his letters. …

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: 23 hits

  • 1858 and 1859 were, without doubt, the most momentous of Darwins life. From a quiet rural existence
  • he was jolted into action by the arrival of an unexpected letter from Alfred Russel Wallace. This
  • the composition and publication, <