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Darwin Correspondence Project

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Darwin Correspondence Project
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From E. A. Darwin   [before 20 February 1866?]


Lyell calculates enviously that CD can do more work than any of the philosophers.

Author:  Erasmus Alvey Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [before 20 Feb 1866?]
Classmark:  DAR 105: B52
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4965

To A. R. Wallace   [6 February 1866]


ARW’s simple explanation of dimorphic forms is satisfactory.

On "non-blending" of certain varieties, CD thinks ARW has not understood him. He does not refer to fertility. He crossed two differently coloured varieties of peas and "got both varieties perfect, but none intermediate". Something like this must occur in ARW’s butterflies.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Alfred Russel Wallace
Date:  [6 Feb 1866]
Classmark:  British Library (Add 46434, f. 64)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4989

To Ernst Haeckel   1 February 1866


Thanks for photographs [of German scientists].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Ernst Philipp August (Ernst) Haeckel
Date:  1 Feb 1866
Classmark:  Ernst-Haeckel-Haus (Bestand A-Abt. 1-52/9)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4990

To Friedrich Rolle   1 February [1866]


Thanks for all five numbers of Der Mensch [1866].

Had not known that Rütimeyer had written on modification of species.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Friedrich Rolle
Date:  1 Feb [1866]
Classmark:  Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum, Frankfurt (SNG-Archiv: Malakol.: Nachlass Rolle)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4992

From Frederic William Farrar   1 February [1866]


Is seeking election to the Royal Society.

Author:  Frederic William Farrar
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  1 Feb [1866]
Classmark:  DAR 164: 36
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4993

To Jeffries Wyman   2 February 1866


Obliged for JW’s information on variability of size of bees’ cells. Hexagonal cells not always work of several insects. W. H. Miller found great variability in thickness of cell walls.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Jeffries Wyman
Date:  2 Feb 1866
Classmark:  Jeffries Wyman Jr (private collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4994

To F. W. Farrar   3 February [1866]


Will be pleased to sign FWF’s certificate for the Royal Society if he can send it to CD, who does not have the strength to go to London.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Frederic William Farrar
Date:  3 Feb [1866]
Classmark:  National Library of Australia (MS 5907)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4995

From Charles James Fox Bunbury to Charles Lyell   3 February 1866


Discusses Louis Agassiz’s theory of the glaciation of Brazil.

Author:  Bunbury, C. F. J.
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  3 Feb 1866
Classmark:  F. J. Bunbury ed. 1891–3, Later life 1: 134–6.
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4995F

From J. D. Hooker   4 February 1866



Asks CD whether he knows of a medicine to check vomiting – for a friend dying from starvation as a result.

Duke of Somerset is looking for two naturalists for survey ship to Korea and Strait of Magellan.

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  4 Feb 1866
Classmark:  DAR 102: 57–8
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4996

From A. R. Wallace   4 February 1866


Looks forward to reading Variation.

Explains how two or more female forms occur in one species through selection. The physiological problem remains of how each produces offspring like the other without intermediates. Is not CD’s case of varieties that will not blend the physiological test of a species needed for "complete proof of the origin of species"?

"Travels" postponed.

Author:  Alfred Russel Wallace
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  4 Feb 1866
Classmark:  DAR 106: B31–2
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4997

From F. W. Farrar   5 February 1866


Thanks CD for supporting his application to the Royal Society.

Author:  Frederic William Farrar
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  5 Feb 1866
Classmark:  DAR 164: 37
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4998

To Charles Lyell   7 February [1866]


Discussion of Mrs Agassiz’s letter [to Mary Lyell, forwarded to CD] regarding S. American glacial action,

with comments on Bunbury’s letter on temperate plants.

Refers to opinions of Agassiz, David Forbes, Hooker, and CD on glacial period and glaciers.

Wishes he had published a long chapter on glacial period [Natural selection, pp. 535–66] written ten years ago.

Tells of death of his sister, Catherine, and other family matters.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  7 Feb [1866]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.312)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4999

From Lionel Smith Beale   9 February 1866


Sends the numbers [of periodicals?] CD wished to see, and a list of other journals in which his papers have appeared.

Author:  Lionel Smith Beale
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  9 Feb 1866
Classmark:  DAR 160: 101
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-5000

To Gardeners’ Chronicle   [before 10 February 1866]


Asks botanical readers to inform him "whether in those monoecious or dioecious plants, in which the flowers are widely different, it has ever been observed that half the flower, or only a segment of it, has been of one sex and the other half or segment of the opposite sex, in the same manner as so frequently occurs with insects?"

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Gardeners’ Chronicle
Date:  [before 10 Feb 1866]
Classmark:  Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 10 February 1866, p. 127
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-5001

To Williams & Norgate   10 February [1866]


Orders Richard Owen’s Anatomy of vertebrates [1866–8],

subscribes to Annals and Magazine of Natural History,

and orders three back numbers of Medical Times and Gazette.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Williams & Norgate
Date:  10 Feb [1866]
Classmark:  Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-5002

From H. B. Jones   10 February [1866]


Sends a diet for CD’s flatulence.

Author:  Henry Bence Jones
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  10 Feb [1866]
Classmark:  DAR 168: 77
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-5003

From James Shaw   [6–10 February 1866]



Memorandum of a meeting of the Natural History & Antiquarian Society held in Dumfries on Tuesday 6 February 1866.

Author:  James Shaw
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [6–10 Feb 1866]
Classmark:  DAR 84.1: 14–17
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-5003F

To James Shaw   11 February [1866]


Discusses beauty of birds and butterflies.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  James Shaw
Date:  11 Feb [1866]
Classmark:  R. Wallace ed. 1899, pp. lvi–lvii;
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-5004

From Fritz Müller   13 February 1866


Thanks CD for Journal of researches.

Insect genus Elater is an exception to the rule that all luminous organs give out a green light.

Gives some observations on climbing plants at Itajahy.

His study of orchids has convinced him of the value of CD’s book.

Author:  Johann Friedrich Theodor (Fritz) Müller
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  13 Feb 1866
Classmark:  Möller ed. 1915–21, 2: 79–80
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-5004A

From James Shaw   14 February 1866


Reports instances of birds admiring their images in mirrors or on pictures.

Author:  James Shaw
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  14 Feb 1866
Classmark:  DAR 177: 150
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-5005
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in keywords
181 Items
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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 …

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 …

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 …

Darwin in letters, 1865: Delays and disappointments


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: 7 hits

  • … to me. So the world goes.—’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 2 February [1865] ). However, Hooker, at the …
  • … idle when I can do anything’ ( letter to John Murray, 2 June [1865] ). It was not until 25 …
  • … abstract of the paper was read before the Linnean Society on 2 February, and in April Darwin wrote …
  • … 1867), and Darwin summarised them in  Variation  2: 106–7, concluding, ‘it follows from Mr. Scott …
  • … and professional seniority ( see letter from J. D. Hooker, [2 June 1865] ); but Darwin’s feelings …
  • … in healing this ugly breach’ ( letter from J. D. Hooker, [2 June 1865] ), Darwin seems to have …
  • … of weather-forecasting ( see letter from J. D. Hooker, 2 May 1865 and nn. 2 and 5), and he may …

Home learning: 7-11 years


Do try this at home! Support your children’s learning by downloading our free and fun activities for those aged between 7-11 and 11-14 years, using Darwin’s letters.  

Matches: 1 hits

  • … More Detecting Darwin activities 2 Learn about Darwin and the Beagle …

Darwin in letters, 1878: Movement and sleep


In 1878, Darwin devoted most of his attention to the movements of plants. He investigated the growth pattern of roots and shoots, studying the function of specific organs in this process. Working closely with his son Francis, Darwin devised a series of…

Matches: 9 hits

  • … in plants , pp. 112–13). He explained to Francis on 2 July : ‘I go on maundering about the …
  • … tomorrow to Wurzburg,’ Darwin wrote to Thiselton-Dyer on 2 June , ‘& work by myself will be …
  • … [before 17 July 1878] ), ‘a strong horizontal axis about 2 feet long which goes round by clockwork …
  • … animal instinct and intelligence. ‘Frank’s son, nearly 2 years old (& we think much of his …
  • … more expertly. ‘I conclude that a child—just under 2 years is inferior in intellect to a monkey.’ …
  • … & a baby in your house!’ ( letter to G. J. Romanes, 2 September [1878] ). More …
  • … seems to me quite ridiculous’ ( letter to John Price, 2 April [1878] ). When a wealthy businessman …
  • … was ‘deeply gratified’, remarking to Skertchly on 2 March : ‘It is the greatest possible …
  • … that such checks had been in action during the last 2 or 3 centuries, or even for a shorter time in …

Interview with Randal Keynes


Randal Keynes is a great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin, and the author of Annie’s Box (Fourth Estate, 2001), which discusses Darwin’s home life, his relationship with his wife and children, and the ways in which these influenced his feelings about…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … which came to my mind as I read his book. 2. Darwin's influences …

Interview with Emily Ballou


Emily Ballou is a writer of novels and screenplays, and a prize-winning poet. Her book The Darwin Poems, which explores aspects of Darwin’s life and thoughts through the medium of poetry, was recently published by the University of Western Australia Press.…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … some of these poems today, and? 2. The idea of writing about Darwin …

Interview with Tim Lewens


Dr Tim Lewens is a Lecturer in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Organisms and artifacts (2004), which examines the language and arguments for design in biology and philosophy, and of…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … you for the flattering introduction. 2. The unusual role Darwin plays today …

Interview with Pietro Corsi


Pietro Corsi is Professor of the History of Science at the University of Oxford. His book Evolution Before Darwin is due to be published in 2010 by Oxford University Press. Date of interview: 17 July 2009 Transcription 1: Introduction …

Matches: 1 hits

  • … surrounding evolutionary theories. 2. The situation in France …

Interview with John Hedley Brooke


John Hedley Brooke is President of the Science and Religion Forum as well as the author of the influential Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives (Cambridge University Press, 1991). He has had a long career in the history of science and…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Paul. It’s a very great pleasure. 2. Victorian spiritualism and the …

Fake Darwin: myths and misconceptions


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 ones, …

Language: key letters


How and why language evolved bears on larger questions about the evolution of the human species, and the relationship between man and animals. Darwin presented his views on the development of human speech from animal sounds in The Descent of Man (1871),…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Letter 3054: Darwin, C. R. to Lyell, Charles, 2 Feb [1861] If the descent of languages was …
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