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From W. K. Parker   18 January 1878


Sorry he was out when CD called.

Author:  William Kitchen Parker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  18 Jan 1878
Classmark:  DAR 174: 20
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10077

From W. C. Marshall   25 September [1878]



Observations on insectivorous plants.

Author:  William Cecil (Bill) Marshall
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  25 Sept [1878]
Classmark:  DAR 86: B1–2
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10173

From F. M. Balfour   [c. 31 January 1878?]


His brother Cecil is reading Coral reefs, and, as his business involves the Keeling Islands and Torres Straits, he offers to make any observations CD might want.

Author:  Francis Maitland Balfour
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [c. 31 Jan 1878?]
Classmark:  DAR 160: 23
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10332

To Milan Radovanović   [before 12 February 1878]


Thanks for congratulations on his coming birthday. Has nothing special to say as a preface to S[erbian] edition [of Origin (1878)], except to hope it is in every way successful.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Milan Marinković (Milan) Radovanović
Date:  [before 12 Feb 1878]
Classmark:  DAR 202: 79
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10827

From R. T. Clarke   6 February [1878]


Sends curious, coloured pea seeds.

Author:  Richard Trevor Clarke
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  6 Feb [1878]
Classmark:  DAR 161: 169
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10832

To G. J. Romanes   15 April [1878]


Regrets that GJR was passed over for membership in Royal Society. Discusses criteria applied by Council.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  George John Romanes
Date:  15 Apr [1878]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.509)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10929

From Thomas Meehan   28 April [1878]


Sends CD Dr Wood’s lecture on insectivorous plants.

Had no intention of antagonising CD with his observations on Linum; was anxious to account for its apparently different behaviour.

Author:  Thomas Meehan
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  28 Apr [1878]
Classmark:  DAR 171: 111
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10944

To W. C. Marshall   27 September [1878]


Thanks WCM for plant.

Mentions "your new room" at Down.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Cecil (Bill) Marshall
Date:  27 Sept [1878]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-11153

From George Henslow   [c. 20 February 1878]


Discusses various authors’ interpretations of the structure of the embryo of grasses.

Author:  George Henslow
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [c. 20 Feb 1878]
Classmark:  DAR 209.4: 431
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-11219

From J. D. Hooker   [c. 20 February 1878]


Discusses the structure of grass embryos; states differing theories regarding which part of the seed corresponds to the cotyledon.

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [c. 20 Feb 1878]
Classmark:  DAR 209.4: 432
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-11220

To Francis Darwin   [1878?]


Forwards an unspecified work for FD to read.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Francis Darwin
Date:  [1878?]
Classmark:  DAR 211: 21
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-11302

To Francis Darwin   5 [June 1878]


Sends letter and seeds from [F. J. Cohn].

Is working too hard.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Francis Darwin
Date:  5 [June 1878]
Classmark:  DAR 211: 22
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-11303

From Ellen Harrison to Emma Darwin   [January 1878]


On an elephant’s crying when foot was operated on.

Author:  Ellen Harrison
Addressee:  Emma Wedgwood; Emma Darwin
Date:  [Jan 1878]
Classmark:  DAR 166: 108
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-11304

To Raphael Meldola   1 January [1878]


Good article by Fritz Müller in Kosmos supporting August Weismann’s views on caterpillars.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Raphael Meldola
Date:  1 Jan [1878]
Classmark:  Oxford University Museum of Natural History (Hope Entomological Collections 1350: Hope/Westwood Archive, Darwin folder)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-11305

To Édouard Heckel   1 January 1878


Pleased EH is translating Forms of flowers. Agrees "cowslip" and "oxlip" ought to be translated by their scientific names.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Édouard Marie (Édouard) Heckel
Date:  1 Jan 1878
Classmark:  Barbara and Robert Pincus (private collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-11306

To H. D. Garrison   [1878]


Regrets he was not at home when HDG called.

HDG’s observations on the evolution of the human ear are well worth consideration.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Herod Dailey Garrison
Date:  [1878]
Classmark:  Felter 1902, p. 124
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-11306F

To Hermann Müller   1 January [1878]


Thanks HM for his review [of Forms of flowers, Kosmos 2 (1877–8): 286].

Thinks HM’s previous article was very important [Kosmos 2 (1877–8): 128–40]. CD will "heartily rejoice" if HM has explained the steps by which Rhamnus and Valeriana have been rendered dioecious.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Heinrich Ludwig Hermann (Hermann) Müller
Date:  1 Jan [1878]
Classmark:  DAR 146: 438
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-11307

From Raphael Meldola   2 January [1878]


Wishes to borrow third part of Fritz Müller’s article on sexual selection in butterflies [Kosmos 2 (1877–8): 218–24].

Is forwarding material on stridulation, including Prof. Wood-Mason’s paper ["Note on Mygale stridulans", Trans. R. Entomol. Soc. Lond. (1877): 281–2], which should interest CD.

Author:  Raphael Meldola
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  2 Jan [1878]
Classmark:  DAR 171: 121
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-11308

To ?   2 January 1878


Thanks correspondent for note and specimen; they will be of use in new edition of Forms of flowers.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Unidentified
Date:  2 Jan 1878
Classmark:  DAR 249: 126
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-11308A

To Raphael Meldola   3 January 1878


Is dispatching December number of Kosmos.

Will read the discussion on stridulation that RM mentioned.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Raphael Meldola
Date:  3 Jan 1878
Classmark:  Oxford University Museum of Natural History (Hope Entomological Collections 1350: Hope/Westwood Archive, Darwin folder)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-11309
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14 Items

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: 29 hits

  • … There are summaries of all Darwin's letters from the year 1878 on this website.  The full texts …
  • … is to lessen injury to leaves from radiation In 1878, Darwin devoted most of his …
  • … scientific man’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 14 December [1878] ). Writing to Ernst Haeckel on …
  • … plants.’ Movement in plants In the spring of 1878, Darwin started to focus on the …
  • … come up arched’ ( letter to Sophy Wedgwood, 24 March [1878–80] ). While Darwin was studying the …
  • … of apex’ ( letter to Francis Darwin, [11 May 1878] ). Having found plants responsive to …
  • … at my blunder’ ( letter to John Tyndall, 22 December [1878] ). Son abroad Darwin’s …
  • … kind to him’ ( letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 18 June [1878] ). While Francis was away, Darwin …
  • … work, I scribble to you ( letter to Francis Darwin, 7 [July 1878] ). Two weeks later he wrote: ‘I …
  • … to discuss it with’ ( letter to Francis Darwin, 20 [July 1878] ). It is unclear why the …
  • … reported ( letter from Francis Darwin, [after 7 July 1878] ): ‘The oats have only just begun to …
  • … Francis wrote ( letter from Francis Darwin, [before 17 July 1878] ), ‘a strong horizontal axis …
  • … rather’ ( letter from Francis Darwin, [before 3 August 1878] ). One day Francis observed that the …
  • … out one’ ( letter from Francis Darwin, [after 7 July 1878] ). Sachs’s confidence was apparently …
  • … him,’ he reported ( letter from Francis Darwin, [22 June 1878] ). ‘Sachs doesn’t consider that …
  • … all evils’ ( letter from Francis Darwin, [24 and 25 July 1878] ). Babies and animals …
  • … he added a week later ( letter to Francis Darwin, 14 July [1878] ). Darwin had of course observed …
  • … have said a gee-gee’ ( letter to Francis Darwin, 17 July [1878] ). On 12 September , Darwin …
  • … will always do so’ ( letter to G. J. Romanes, 20 August [1878] ). Darwin remarked that a monkey …
  • … in your house!’ ( letter to G. J. Romanes, 2 September [1878] ). More remarkable cases of …
  • … of a thieving wasp’ ( letter from G. J. Romanes, 21 June 1878 ). An inspiration In …
  • … ( letter from J.-B. Dumas and Joseph Bertrand, 5 August 1878 ). Despite his many botanical …
  • … to me quite ridiculous’ ( letter to John Price, 2 April [1878] ). When a wealthy businessman tried …
  • … ( letter from Edmund Mojsisovics von Mojsvár, 28 April 1878 ). ‘What a wonderful change in the …
  • … The Swiss botanist Arnold Dodel-Port announced on 12 June 1878 the first issue of an atlas with …
  • … come together’ ( letter from Arnold Dodel-Port, 18 June 1878 ). In countries where …
  • … are without you’ (letters from Carl Kraus, [31?] January 1878 and 10 February 1878 ). Darwin …
  • … been school-boys’ ( letter to Karl von Scherzer, 1 April 1878 ). More critics Closer …
  • … matter’ ( letter from H. N. Ridley, [before 28 November 1878] ). Darwin received a copy of the …

Volume 26 (1878) available now


Investigating the movements and 'sleep' of plants, finally elected a corresponding member of the French Académie des sciences, trying to secure a government grant to support an Irish correspondent's attempts to breed a blight-resistant…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … of plants & bloom . Darwin summed up his work in 1878 briefly in his journal. …
  • … then in Afghanistan; Darwin signed two anti-war petitions in 1878. ‘ I may say with …

Power of movement in plants


Sources|Discussion Questions|Experiment Family experiments Darwin was an active and engaged father during his children's youth, involving them in his experiments and even occasionally using them as observational subjects. When his children…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … Letter 11586 - Darwin to Francis Darwin, 2 July 1878 Darwin writes to Francis to …
  • … Letter 11628 - Francis Darwin to Darwin, 24 July 1878 Francis writes to his father …

Photograph album of German and Austrian scientists


The album was sent to Darwin to mark his birthday on 12 February 1877 by the civil servant Emil Rade, and contained 165 portraits of German and Austrian scientists. The work was lavishly produced and bound in blue velvet with metal embossing. Its ornate…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … east Bohemia, sent Darwin birthday wishes a year too late in 1878 and pleaded to have his photograph …
  • … German album ( Letter from Carl  Kraus , 10 February 1878 )   …

Darwin and the Church


The story of Charles Darwin’s involvement with the church is one that is told far too rarely. It shows another side of the man who is more often remembered for his personal struggles with faith, or for his role in large-scale controversies over the…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … a high opinion of Darwin’s character that he claimed in 1878 to have made the following declaration …
  • … of himself. Letter from J. B. Innes, 1 December 1878 This was a stirring …

Darwin’s Photographic Portraits


Darwin was a photography enthusiast. This is evident not only in his use of photography for the study of Expression and Emotions in Man and Animal, but can be witnessed in his many photographic portraits and in the extensive portrait correspondence that…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … than a postman’s bag. Image: Charles Darwin, 1878, Leonard Darwin, Dar 225:119, ©Cambridge …
  • … on a wicker chair. Image: Charles Darwin, 1878, Leonard Darwin, Dar 225:1, ©Cambridge …

Dining at Down House


Sources|Discussion Questions|Experiment Dining, Digestion, and Darwin's Domestic Life While Darwin is best remembered for his scientific accomplishments, he greatly valued and was strongly influenced by his domestic life. Darwin's…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Leonard Darwin to George Darwin, 8 February [1878] Darwin’s youngest son, Leonard (Lenny), …

George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)


George Eliot was the pen name of celebrated Victorian novelist Mary Ann Evans (1819-1880). She was born on the outskirts of Nuneaton in Warwickshire and was educated at boarding schools from the age of five until she was 16. Her education ended when she…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … become her partner for the next 25 years, until his death in 1878. Lewes was already married but …

Conrad Martens


Conrad Martens was born in London, the son of an Austrian diplomat. He studied landscape painting under the watercolourist Copley Fielding (1789–1855), who also briefly taught Ruskin. In 1833 he was on board the Hyacinth, headed for India, but en route in…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … commissions before dying from a heart attack on 21 August 1878. Conrad Martens' …

Florence Caroline Dixie


On October 29th 1880, Lady Florence Dixie wrote a letter to Charles Darwin from her home in the Scottish Borders; “Whilst reading the other day your very interesting account of A Naturalist’s Voyage round the world,” she said, “I came across a passage…of…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … in 1875 had two sons, George and Albert, born in 1876 and 1878 respectively. …

'An Appeal' against animal cruelty


The four-page pamphlet transcribed below and entitled 'An Appeal', was composed jointly by Emma and Charles Darwin (see letter from Emma Darwin to W. D. Fox, [29 September 1863]). The pamphlet, which protested against the cruelty of steel vermin…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … 1854 to 1861, in 1863 and 1864, from 1871 to 1875, and in 1878 and 1880 (CD’s Classed account books …

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: 2 hits

  • … ). Francis in Würzburg As he had done in 1878, Francis Darwin spent the summer of 1879 …
  • … cross-fertilisation, had first contacted Darwin in 1876. By 1878, Darwin was sufficiently impressed …

Darwin in letters, 1876: In the midst of life


1876 was the year in which the Darwins became grandparents for the first time.  And tragically lost their daughter-in-law, Amy, who died just days after her son's birth.  All the letters from 1876 are now published in volume 24 of The Correspondence…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … anyone who wrote a lot, but the novelty soon wore off and in 1878 the machine was given away. …

Darwin in letters, 1874: A turbulent year


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: 1 hits

  • … M. M. Radovanović, 17 September 1874 ), which appeared in 1878. Books and articles were …