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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…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … has almost driven away grief.’ (Darwin to W. D. Fox,  2 July [1858] ). The death of a baby …

Darwin's bad days

Summary

Despite being a prolific worker who had many successes with his scientific theorising and experimenting, even Darwin had some bad days. These times when nothing appeared to be going right are well illustrated by the following quotations from his letters:

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  • … Despite being a prolific worker who had many successes with his scientific theorising and …

People featured in the Dutch photograph album

Summary

Here is a list of people that appeared in the photograph album Darwin received for his birthday on 12 February 1877 from scientific admirers in the Netherlands. Many thanks to Hester Loeff for identifying and researching them. No. …

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  • … Leiden 13 june 1823 Rotterdam 2 june 1877 Zoeterwoude …

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…

Matches: 4 hits

  • … no other place, could have been given to it’ (Kirby 1852, 2: 246). Darwin’s copy of Brougham …
  • … Bees can make apparently true cylinders & spheres. (2) They never begin one cell at time always …
  • … by the work of François Huber. In his copy of Huber 1814, 2: 143, he scribbled a note: ‘If the sides …
  • … the latest controversies in his letter to Darwin of 2 August 1858 . The notion that the theory of …

Religion

Summary

Design|Personal Belief|Beauty|The Church Perhaps the most notorious realm of controversy over evolution in Darwin's day was religion. The same can be said of the evolution controversy today; however the nature of the disputes and the manner in…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … Letter 5140 — Wallace, A. R. to Darwin, C. R., 2 July 1866 Wallace writes a lengthy analysis …
  • … Letter 8837 — Darwin, C. R. to Doedes, N. D., 2 Apr 1873 Darwin explains the impossibility of …
  • … Letter 6223 — Horsman, S. J. H. to Darwin, C. R., 2 June [1868] Horsman attempts to convince …

Scientific Practice

Summary

Specialism|Experiment|Microscopes|Collecting|Theory Letter writing is often seen as a part of scientific communication, rather than as integral to knowledge making. This section shows how correspondence could help to shape the practice of science, from…

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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: 3 hits

  • … sketch of an infant’, published in  Mind  in 1877.[2]  The full text of the notebook is available …
  • … instinctive movement which causes hiccough.— 2  At his 8 th  day he frowned much. & …
  • … his hand, when  4v . he wanted to suck. Annie at 2 months & four days had a very broad …

Biodiversity and its histories

Summary

The Darwin Correspondence Project was co-sponsor of Biodiversity and its Histories, which brought together scholars and researchers in ecology, politics, geography, anthropology, cultural history, and history and philosophy of science, to explore how…

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  • … John Ray’s Wisdom of God and John Allen’s Biosphere 2   Georg Toepfer  …

New material added to the American edition of Origin

Summary

A ‘revised and augmented’ American edition of Origin came on the market in July 1860, and was the only authorised edition available in the US until 1873. It incorporated many of the changes Darwin made to the second English edition, but still contained…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … the process of stereotyping (see letter from Asa Gray, 23 January [1860] and n. 2). The firm agreed, …
  • … than I am inclined to believe they are. Page 79, 2 six lines from bottom, after word ‘ …
  • … See the first edition of Origin , p. 44. 2 Origin , p. 83. 3 Origin , …

Referencing women’s work

Summary

Darwin's correspondence shows that women made significant contributions to Darwin's work, but whether and how they were acknowledged in print involved complex considerations of social standing, professional standing, and personal preference.…

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  • … Letter 1113 - Darwin to Whitby, M. A. T., [2 September 1847] Darwin questions Mrs. …

Darwin and slavery

Summary

Darwin was horrified by his encounters with slavery whilst on the Beagle voyage. Learn about the transatlantic slave trade through the context of his experiences.

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  • … Darwin believed that the enslavement of people was barbaric and, like the rest of his family, …

Darwin and Religion

Summary

When Darwin published On the Origin of Species, was there a clear cut division between those who supported science and those who supported God? Find out how Darwin’s letters reveal a complex reaction from all sides and a desire from Darwin to keep his…

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  • … Pupils explore the reaction to Darwin’s findings as evidenced through his letters. Activities …

Forms of flowers

Summary

Darwin’s book The different forms of flowers on plants of the same species, published in 1877, investigated the structural differences in the sexual organs of flowers of the same species. It drew on and expanded five articles Darwin had published on the…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … two for Linn. Soc. ’  ‘ I have just finished 2 papers on the fertilization of plants ’, …

Darwin in letters, 1862: A multiplicity of experiments

Summary

1862 was a particularly productive year for Darwin. This was not only the case in his published output (two botanical papers and a book on the pollination mechanisms of orchids), but more particularly in the extent and breadth of the botanical experiments…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … condition in  Primula ’, p. 92 ( Collected papers  2: 59)). Darwin later recalled: ‘no little …
  • … ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 14 [October 1862] ; see ML 2: 292–3). Other species proved more …
  • … opposition to the  Origin  ’ ( letter from Asa Gray, 2–3 July 1862 ). Henry Walter Bates …

Inheritance

Summary

It was crucial to Darwin’s theories of species change that naturally occurring variations could be inherited.  But at the time when he wrote Origin, he had no explanation for how inheritance worked – it was just obvious that it did.  Darwin’s attempt to…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … of Pangenesis  (Charles Darwin, Variation , vol. 2, p. 357). It was crucial to …
  • … domestication, and revised for the second edition in 1875 (2d ed. 2: 349–99). ‘The whole subject …
  • … from generation to generation’ ( Variation , vol. 2, p. 2). He postulated that heredity occurred …

Science: A Man’s World?

Summary

Discussion Questions|Letters Darwin's correspondence show that many nineteenth-century women participated in the world of science, be it as experimenters, observers, editors, critics, producers, or consumers. Despite this, much of the…

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  • … and was not, appropriate for i) men and ii) women? 2. What sorts of characteristics and …
  • … Letter 4377 - Haeckel, E. P. A. to Darwin, [2 January 1864] Haeckel sends Darwin some …

Darwin in letters, 1863: Quarrels at home, honours abroad

Summary

At the start of 1863, Charles Darwin was actively working on the manuscript of The variation of animals and plants under domestication, anticipating with excitement the construction of a hothouse to accommodate his increasingly varied botanical experiments…

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  • … diminished even further when he and his family departed on 2 September for more than a month at a …
  • … that ‘there are almost certainly several cases of 2 or 3 or more species blended together & now …

Darwin in letters,1870: Human evolution

Summary

The year 1870 is aptly summarised by the brief entry Darwin made in his journal: ‘The whole of the year at work on the Descent of Man & Selection in relation to Sex’.  Descent was the culmination of over three decades of observations and reflections on…

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  • … to every one else I suspect’ ( letter from H. B. Jones, 2 August 1870 ). Darwin had visits …
  • … had thrown him (letter from G. H. Darwin to H. E. Darwin, [21 – 2 February 1870] (DAR 251: 2243)). …

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: 2 hits

  • … not the direct result of natural selection ( Variation  2: 185–9). Wallace seized upon this point …
  • … Friedrich Hildebrand sent his praise for  Variation  on 2 January , and reported on experiments …

Before Origin: the ‘big book’

Summary

Darwin began ‘sorting notes for Species Theory’ on 9 September 1854, the very day he concluded his eight-year study of barnacles (Darwin's Journal). He had long considered the question of species. In 1842, he outlined a theory of transmutation in a…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … on my notes, collating & comparing them, in order in some 2 or 3 years to write a book with all …
  • … called his ‘weed garden’—a cleared plot of land 3 x 2 feet on which he let seedlings spring up . …
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