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Darwin Correspondence Project

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Abstract of Darwin’s theory

Summary

There are two extant versions of the abstract of Darwin’s theory of natural selection. One was sent to Asa Gray on 5 September 1857, enclosed with a letter of the same date (see Correspondence vol. 6, letter to Asa Gray, 5 September [1857] and enclosure).…

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  • … of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Zoology)  3 (1859): 45–62, it has been transcribed here. …
  • … & even in some degree methodically been followed 3  in the most ancient times. There must have …
  • … this period, millions on millions of generations. (3)   I think it can be shown that there is …
  • … if cropped with several species of grasses than with 2 or 3 species. 34  Now every single 35 …
  • … ‘astounded’ (Darwin and Wallace 1858, p. 50). 3 The printed version reads: ‘was occasionally, …

3.14 Julia Margaret Cameron, photos

Summary

< Back to Introduction In the summer of 1868 Darwin took a holiday on the Isle of Wight with his immediate family, his brother Erasmus, and his friend Joseph Hooker. The family’s accommodation at Freshwater was rented from the photographer Julia…

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3.7 Leonard Darwin, photo on verandah

Summary

< Back to Introduction Like the anonymous photograph of Darwin on horseback in front of Down House, Leonard Darwin’s photograph of him sitting in a wicker chair on the verandah was originally just a family memento. However, as Darwin’s high…

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  • … famous portrait of Thomas Carlyle, painted in 1872-3. Both images presented an intellectual of the …

George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)

Summary

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…

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  • … step towards brave clearness and honesty!' (Haight 1954–78 3: 227).     …

Bibliography of Darwin’s geological publications

Summary

This list includes papers read by Darwin to the Geological Society of London, his books on the geology of the Beagle voyage, and other publications on geological topics.  Author-date citations refer to entries in the Darwin Correspondence Project’s…

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  • … of the Geological Society of London  2nd ser., pt. 3, 5 (1840): 601-31.  [ Shorter publications , …

1.4 Samuel Laurence drawing 1

Summary

< Back to Introduction Samuel Laurence’s intimate chalk drawing of Darwin is dated 1853. It is likely that Darwin sat for the portrait at Down House, and Francis Darwin, in his catalogue of portraits of his father painted or drawn ‘from life’, noted…

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Doing Darwin’s Experiments

Summary

Darwin’s curiosity for the natural world meant he carried out experiments throughout his life. Try out his experiments in the class room and compare your results with his findings.

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  • … Darwin wrote to thousands of correspondents and his letters and notebooks show us how he worked. …

3.9 Leonard Darwin, photo on horseback

Summary

< Back to Introduction It is so rare to encounter an image of Darwin in a specific locale that a family photograph of him riding his horse Tommy takes on a special interest. He is at the front of Down House, the door of which is open; it seems as…

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  • … Francis Darwin, The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin , 3 vols (London: John Murray, 1887, 1888) …

3.20 Elliott and Fry, c.1880-1, verandah

Summary

< Back to Introduction In photographs of Darwin taken c.1880-1, the expression of energetic thought conveyed by photographs of earlier years gives way to the pathos of evident physical frailty. While Collier’s oil portrait of this time emphasises…

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  • … by Gustav Kruell to serve as the frontispiece to volume 3 of Francis Darwin’s Life and Letters …
  • … Darwin (ed.), The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin , 3 vols (London: John Murray, 1887), vol. 3

Earthworms

Summary

As with many of Darwin’s research topics, his interest in worms spanned nearly his entire working life. Some of his earliest correspondence about earthworms was written and received in the 1830s, shortly after his return from his Beagle voyage, and his…

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  • … the Action of Worms. London: John Murray. Chapters 1 and 3. Letters Letter 385 …
  • … could have observed so much without aid.” [Letter 8140, 3 January 1872] Letters 8144 , …
  • … you about Darwin's domestic life and extended family? 3. How does Darwin praise the …

4.16 Joseph Simms, physiognomy

Summary

< Back to Introduction In September 1874, the American doctor Joseph Simms, then on a three-year lecture tour of Britain, sent Darwin a copy of his book, Nature’s Revelations of Character; Or, Physiognomy Illustrated. He was seeking a public…

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  • … Physiognomy Illustrated, published by the author in 1872-3, pp. 191-2; the book was subsequently …

Books on the Beagle

Summary

The Beagle was a sort of floating library.  Find out what Darwin and his shipmates read here.

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  • … .  Nouvelles Annales du Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle  3 (1834): 84–115. (DAR 37.1: 677v.; letter to …

1.5 Samuel Laurence drawing 2

Summary

< 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…

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  • … Darwin (ed.), The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin 3 vols, vol. 3 (London: John Murray, 1887), …

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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  • … its frequency and variability in humans ( Descent  1: 22-3). Humans as animals: facial …
  • … he informed his father ( letter from G. H. Darwin, [3 February 1870 or earlier] ). George devoted …

1.6 Ouless oil portrait

Summary

< Back to Introduction The first commissioned oil portrait of Darwin was painted by Walter William Ouless, who was given sittings at Down House in March 1875. The idea for such a portrait came from Darwin’s son William, who as far back as 1872 had…

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  • … March 1875 
 computer-readable date 1875-03-01 to 1875-03-29   
 medium and …
  • … Darwin (ed.), The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin , 3 vols (London: John Murray, 1887), vol. 3
  • … 1909 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1909), pp. 3-4, no. 8. ‘List of exhibits . . . …

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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  • … Letter 1220 — Hooker, J. D. to Darwin, C. R., 3 Feb 1849 Hooker sends Darwin “a yarn about …

Darwin on marriage

Summary

On 11 November 1838 Darwin wrote in his journal ‘The day of days!’. He had proposed to his cousin, Emma Wedgwood, and been accepted; they were married on 29 January 1839. Darwin appears to have written these two notes weighing up the pros and cons of…

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  • … [2] If  not  marry | Travel. Europe, yes?[3] | America???? If I travel it must be …
  • … he followed either of the two options here set out. [3] ‘Europe, yes’  circled in pencil. …

3.4 William Darwin, photo 1

Summary

< Back to Introduction In the 1860s Darwin increasingly turned to two of his sons - first to William and later to Leonard - for the fashioning of his image. William, the eldest, apparently took up photography c.1857, when still in his teens, and…

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  • … carte [de visite], but I send a photograph of myself made 3 or 4 years ago by my eldest son (now a …
  • … accession or collection number https://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FMUS.GRA:12123396?n=131     
 …

The death of Anne Elizabeth Darwin

Summary

Charles and Emma Darwin’s eldest daughter, Annie, died at the age of ten in 1851.   Emma was heavily pregnant with their fifth son, Horace, at the time and could not go with Charles when he took Annie to Malvern to consult the hydrotherapist, Dr Gully.…

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  • … disposition which at once rises before me is her buoyant 3  joyousness tempered by two other …

Darwin’s study of the Cirripedia

Summary

Darwin’s work on barnacles, conducted between 1846 and 1854, has long posed problems for historians. Coming between his transmutation notebooks and the Origin of species, it has frequently been interpreted as a digression from Darwin’s species work. Yet…

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  • … by organisms reflect the degree of zoological parentage, (3) some organisms, in contrast to the …
  • … good to illustrate my theory; see his Treatise.^3^ It is evidently most difficult to make out old in …
  • … are quite aborted . . . ( Living Cirripedia (1854): 562–3)    Indeed, Proteolepas …
  • … as an extreme example of retrograde development.   ^3^ Milne-Edwards 1834–40.   ^4^ …
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