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Darwin Correspondence Project
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To W. E. Darwin   [17 February 1857]



Is glad WED is in the sixth [form]. Discusses WED’s intention to become a barrister.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Erasmus Darwin
Date:  [17 Feb 1857]
Classmark:  DAR 210.6: 14
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1805

To John Innes   [after 16 February 1857]


Recommends he read passages on bees by C. T. E. von Siebold [in On the true parthenogenesis in moths and bees (1857)].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Brodie Innes
Date:  [after 16 Feb 1857]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.149)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2025

To Henry Doubleday   [before 5 February 1857]


Have all varieties been bred from the same set of eggs so that there can be no doubt they are all the same species?

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Henry Doubleday
Date:  [before 5 Feb 1857]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2032

To T. H. Huxley   3 February [1857]


Thanks THH for his response on glacial movement. Hopes Tyndall will experiment on broken ice and explain how two pieces of ice can freeze together.

Sorry to hear of THH’s row with Richard Owen.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Date:  3 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 104)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2045

To John Tyndall   4 February [1857]


CD is "as ignorant of mechanics as a pig", but glaciers have interested him greatly. Hopes to hear that JT’s experiments with ice will explain the freezing together of ice below the freezing point.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Tyndall
Date:  4 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  DAR 261.8: 2 (EH 88205940)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2046

From Henry Doubleday   5 February 1857


The variations of Peronea caused A. H. Haworth and J. F. Stephens to create 30 or 40 species based on colour and markings. HD was first to be convinced these would be reduced to two.

Discusses species that closely resemble one another;

cites species that differ in variation in different localities;

in some double-brooded species the broods differ markedly in size and colour.

Encloses his list of varieties of Peronea.

Author:  Henry Doubleday
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  5 Feb 1857
Classmark:  DAR 162: 236
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2047

To W. B. Tegetmeier   6 February [1857]


Would welcome eggs of any rumpless fowl so that he can investigate how early in development rudimentary organs are rudimentary.

Has not noticed much difference between skeletons of ducks.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  6 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2048

To Bernard Peirce Brent   7 February [1857]


Sympathises with Brent’s legal difficulties. Declines offer of a cock silk fowl, but accepts offer of a German old fashioned pouter pigeon.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Bernard Peirce Brent
Date:  7 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  Richard Brent (private collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2048F

To W. D. Fox   8 February [1857]


Birth of his sixth son [C. W. Darwin]. It is dreadful "to think of all the sendings to school and the professions afterwards".

CD is not well but has not the courage for water-cure again; trying mineral acids.

Working hard on the book [Natural selection]; is overwhelmed with riches in facts and interested in way facts fall into groups.

To his surprise [Helix pomatia] has withstood 14 days in salt water.

Pigeons’ skins come in from all parts of the world.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  8 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 110)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2049

To Charles Lyell   11 February [1857]


Discusses a proposed expedition to Australia. Urges collecting and investigating productions of isolated islands. Recommends dredging the sea-bottom.

Mentions keeping Helix pomatia alive in sea-water.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  11 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.145)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2050

To W. B. Tegetmeier   11 February [1857]


CD is sending two pairs of Persian fowl, from Hon. C. Murray.

Thanks WBT for various offers: a drake, a young silk fowl, a rumpless chick.

The German pouters are not old-fashioned ones but fancy birds, probably crosses since they do not breed true.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  11 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2051

From Alfred Christy to W. B. Tegetmeier   11 February 1857



Sends information on the speed at which his pigeons fly various distances.

Author:  Alfred Christy
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  11 Feb 1857
Classmark:  DAR 205.2: 219
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2052

From Asa Gray   16 February 1857



Discusses the ranges of alpine species in U. S. and considers the possible migration routes of such species from Europe.

Lists those U. S. genera which he considers protean and describes the U. S. character of some genera which are protean in Europe.

Describes how he distinguishes introduced and aboriginal stocks of the same species.

Author:  Asa Gray
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  16 Feb 1857
Classmark:  DAR 165: 96
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2053

To W. B. Tegetmeier   18 February [1857]


Has some fowls from Sir James Brooke, which WBT might like to display at Zoological Society.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  18 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2054

To Syms Covington   22 February 1857


Sends news of his family, Sulivan, and FitzRoy.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Syms Covington
Date:  22 Feb 1857
Classmark:  Sydney Mail, 9 August 1884, p. 255
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2056

To W. D. Fox   22 February [1857]


Helix pomatia is quite healthy after 20 days’ submersion in salt water.

On peas, the evidence is on WDF’s side, but CD cannot see how they can avoid being crossed.

He is working hard, wishes he "could set less value on the bauble fame"; would work as hard, but with less gusto, if he knew his book would be published forever anonymously.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  22 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 101–2)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2057

To Richard Kippist   23 February [1857]


Sends cheque for subscription [£20].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Richard Kippist; Linnean Society
Date:  23 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  Linnean Society of London
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2058

From Victor de Robillard    26 February 1857



The species of Mollusca at Mauritius are almost all different from those of surrounding islands, which confirms the belief that the islands were elevated from the ocean rather than separated from the continent by volcanic action.

Author:  Jean Aimé Victor (Victor) de Robillard
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  26 Feb 1857
Classmark:  DAR 205.3: 287
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2059

To Gardeners’ Chronicle   [after 28 February 1857]


Reports that he fertilised a single pale red carnation with the pollen of a crimson Spanish pink, and a Spanish pink with the pollen of the same carnation. He got seed from both crosses and raised many seedlings. There was no difference between the seedlings from reciprocal crosses, not one plant set a single seed.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Gardeners’ Chronicle
Date:  [after 28 Feb 1857]
Classmark:  Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 7 March 1857, p. 155
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2061
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List of correspondents


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: 16 hits

  • … Émile (8) Alice (2) Alison, R. E. …
  • … (1) Allen, Thomas (2) Allman, G. J. …
  • … (1) Appleton, C. E. C. B. (2) Appleton, T. G. …
  • … (5) Austin, A. D. (2) Austin, C. F. …
  • … (7) Axon, W. E. A. (2) Aylmer, I. E. …
  • … (3) Baldwin, J. D. (2) Balfour, F. M. …
  • … (1) Baranoff, W. (2) Barber, M. E. …
  • … (1) Barnard, Anne (2) Barnes, K. S. …
  • … (1) Barrois, J. H. (2) Bartlett, A. D. …
  • … (1) Batalin, A. F. (2) Bate, C. S. …
  • … (1) Bates, Frederick (2) Bates, H. W. …
  • … (1) Baumhauer, E. H. von (2) Baxter, E. B. …
  • … (3) Beale, L. S. (2) Beall, T. B. (1 …
  • … B. (1) Beck, John (2) Becker, L. E. …
  • … (3) Beger, Karl (2) Behrens, Frederick …
  • … (1) Bell, Robert (b) (2) Bell, Thomas …

Darwin The Collector


Look at nature more closely and create and record your own natural collections.

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Activities provide an introduction to Charles Darwin, how and why he collected so many specimens …

Detecting Darwin


Who was Charles Darwin? What is he famous for? Why is he still important?

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Pupils act as Darwin detectives, exploring clues about Darwin’s life and work. No prior knowledge …

3.3 Maull and Polyblank photo 2


< Back to Introduction Despite the difficulties that arose in relation to Maull and Polyblank’s first photograph of Darwin, another one was produced, this time showing him in three-quarter view. It was evidently not taken at the same session as the…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … These shortcomings also explain why, as early as 1861-2, Darwin decided to go literally and …
  • … accession or collection number DAR 225.175 and DAR 257.2 (cropped) 
 copyright holder …

4.22 Gegeef et al., 'Our National Church', 2


< Back to Introduction The second version of Our National Church. The Aegis of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity was commissioned by the freethinker, radical and secularist George Jacob Holyoake. It was published by John Heywood of Manchester and London…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Daniel Conway, Autobiography: Memories and Experiences , 2 vols (Boston and New York, 1904), vol. …

Darwin’s reading notebooks


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: 5 hits

  • … Stoke’s Library 1 Cambridge. Library 2 Royal Coll of Surgeons [DAR *119 …
  • … de l’Homme,” by Dr. Pierquin, published in Paris (in 2 vols.), so long ago as 1839 4   …
  • … 1829]; read Letter to M. Therry [Broughton 1832]— a 2 d  Edit preparing in 1841.— Lesson …
  • … of habits of birds. Temminck Manuel D’ornithologie. 2 d  Edit: Introduction on migration of …
  • … Ker Porter’s Travels in Caucasus [R. K. Porter 1821–2] praised by Silliman poor Cyclop. of …

3.5 William Darwin, photo 2


< Back to Introduction Darwin’s son William, who had become a banker in Southampton, took the opportunity of a short visit home to Down House in April 1864 to photograph his father afresh. This half-length portrait was the first to show Darwin with a…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … there, which is in the Jane Gray autograph collection, vol. 2, Clark-Green, call no. gra00084. …

4.45 'Puck' cartoon 2


< Back to Introduction In Reason Against Unreason, a cartoon published shortly before Darwin’s death, the American humorous magazine Puck had celebrated him as the embodiment of ‘Reason’. Now, a month after his death, an imaginative drawing in the…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … computer-readable date c.1882-04-21 to 1882-05-02 
 medium and material …

1.5 Samuel Laurence drawing 2


< Back to Introduction This chalk sketch of Darwin by Samuel Laurence is (as Francis Darwin surmised) likely to have been done in 1853, at the same sitting as the portrait in three-quarter view which is now at Down House. It is inscribed on the back…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … < Back to Introduction This chalk sketch of Darwin by Samuel Laurence is (as Francis …

4.41 'Punch', Sambourne cartoon 2


< Back to Introduction In October 1881, Darwin was included in Linley Sambourne’s series of ‘Punch’s Fancy Portraits’ of celebrities as No. 54. While the caption recurs to the old theme of Darwin’s views on human ancestry, the drawing contains a more…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … < Back to Introduction In October 1881, Darwin was included in Linley Sambourne’s …

That monstrous stain: To J. M. Herbert, 2 June 1833


Darwin did not consider himself to be a particularly good writer, but many of his letters contain not just a wealth of information, but also beautifully expressed descriptions and impressions that would be the envy of any essayist or novelist. Such is the…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Darwin did not consider himself to be a particularly good writer, but many of his letters contain …

I never trusted Drosera: From E. F. Lubbock, [after 2 July] 1875


  Francis Neary has set his favourite letter to music (with additional vocals and bass by Deen Manning). The satirical verses were sent to Darwin by Ellen Frances Lubbock in 1875 after the publication of his book on insectivorous plants. They…

Matches: 1 hits

  • …   Francis Neary has set his favourite letter to music (with additional …

The Lyell–Lubbock dispute


In May 1865 a dispute arose between John Lubbock and Charles Lyell when Lubbock, in his book Prehistoric times, accused Lyell of plagiarism. The dispute caused great dismay among many of their mutual scientific friends, some of whom took immediate action…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … sites in both France and Germany (K. M. Lyell ed. 1881, 2: 336). In April 1860, Lubbock travelled …
  • … of errata’ that he may have seen, and then mentioned: 2 have struck out Galton …
  • … what he thought of the affair ( letter from J. D. Hooker, [2 June 1865] ). Hooker, for his part, …

German poems presented to Darwin


Experiments in deepest reverence The following poems were enclosed with a photograph album sent as a birthday gift to Charles Darwin by his German and Austrian admirers (see letter from From Emil Rade, [before 16] February 1877). The poems were…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … unaufhörlich ringen; Manch’ ein Eppur si muove! 2 klang Den dichten Nebel zu …
  • … shall be in eternal strife; Many an Eppur si muove! 2 was uttered To pierce the heavy …
  • … poet Ludovico Ariosto, first published in 1516. 2. Eppur si muove!: And yet it moves! …

Rewriting Origin - the later editions


For such an iconic work, the text of Origin was far from static. It was a living thing that Darwin continued to shape for the rest of his life, refining his ‘one long argument’ through a further five English editions.  Many of his changes were made in…

Matches: 4 hits

  • … edition published, 1872   1 st to 2 nd editions I have …
  • … the voids caused by the action of His laws.” ( Origin 2d ed, p. 481).   2 nd …
  • … to a letter to Asa Gray he had yet to start it on 28 January, but on 2 February 1860 he told …
  • … “Origin” for the first time, for I am correcting for a 2 nd . French Edition; & upon my life, …

Dates of composition of Darwin's manuscript on species


Many of the dates of letters in 1856 and 1857 were based on or confirmed by reference to Darwin’s manuscript on species (DAR 8--15.1, inclusive; transcribed and published as Natural selection). This manuscript, begun in May 1856, was nearly completed by…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … nor was it recorded in Darwin's ‘Journal’. Chapter 2 is not extant but was recorded in Darwin& …
  • … [1] (not extant) 2 13 October 1856 …

Language: Interview with Gregory Radick


Darwin made a famous comment about parallels between changes in language and species change. Gregory Radick, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at Leeds University, talks about the importance of the development of language to Darwin, what…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … to Darwin, how did language begin? 2. Was this an important topic for Darwin? And …
  • … sense, a more developed moral sense, and so forth. 2. Was this an important topic for Darwin? …

Darwin And Evolution


What is evolution? What did Darwin discover and how did he come to his conclusions?

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Activities give an introduction to Charles Darwin and his theories of evolution. Specimens brought …

Darwin's Fantastical Voyage


Learn about Darwin's adventures on his epic journey.

Matches: 1 hits

  • … These activities explore Darwin’s life changing voyage aboard HMS Beagle. Using letters home, …

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…

Matches: 7 hits

  • … his wife sent birthday greetings and a photograph of their 2-year-old son named Darwin, who, they …
  • … materialism”’ ( letter from Francis Darwin, [after 2 June 1879 ]). As one of Darwin’s most ardent …
  • … other than Darwin’s sister Caroline (who was around 2 years old at the time of Erasmus’s death). …
  • … that plants were ‘mere machines’, reminding Francis on 2 June that he had long thought that …
  • … for certain movements’ ( second letter to Francis Darwin, 2 July [1879] ). Sachs guarded …
  • … for” &c are incessant’, Darwin joked on 2 July (first letter) . Much of the time, however, …
  • … their ‘tremendous journey’ ( letter to Francis Darwin, [2 August 1879] ). The journey proved more …
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