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Darwin Correspondence Project

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Thomas Henry Huxley

Summary

Dubbed “Darwin’s bulldog” for his combative role in controversies over evolution, Huxley was a leading Victorian zoologist, science popularizer, and education reformer. He was born in Ealing, a small village west of London, in 1825. With only two years of…

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  • … Owen, and Louis Agassiz (see letters to J. D. Hooker, 9 May 1856 and 21 May 1856). But he considered …

Darwin in letters, 1844–1846: Building a scientific network

Summary

The scientific results of the Beagle voyage still dominated Darwin's working life, but he broadened his continuing investigations into the nature and origin of species. Far from being a recluse, Darwin was at the heart of British scientific society,…

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  • … ( Correspondence  vol. 2, letter to A. Y. Spearman, 9 October 1843, n. 1). Darwin's …

Variation under domestication

Summary

Sources|Discussion Questions|Experiment A fascination with domestication Throughout his working life, Darwin retained an interest in the history, techniques, practices, and processes of domestication. Artificial selection, as practiced by plant and…

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  • … him. Letter 1794 — Darwin to Layard, E.L., 9 Dec 1855 Darwin writes to …

Darwin & Geology

Summary

The lessons Darwin learned from Adam Sedgwick at Cambridge, and in the field in North Wales, stood him in good stead during the Beagle voyage. While he was attached to the Beagle from 1831 to 1835, Darwin actually spent about two-thirds of his time ashore,…

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  • … coral reefs. British Journal for the History of Science 9: 199–218. On the history of …

Insectivorous plants

Summary

Darwin’s work on insectivorous plants began by accident. While on holiday in the summer of 1860, staying with his wife’s relatives in Hartfield, Sussex, he went for long walks on the heathland and became curious about the large number of insects caught by…

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  • … some pure gum.— You have given me a panic. I tried milk on 9 leaves thin Gelatine on 4 White of egg …

Caroline Kennard

Summary

Kennard’s interest in science stemmed from her social commitments to the women's movement, her interests in nature study as a tool for educational reform, as well as her place in a tightly knit network of the Bostonian elite. Kennard was one of a…

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  • … regarding the inferiority of women. Darwin replied on 9 January 1882, referencing his positions in …

Power of movement in plants

Summary

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…

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  • … 4. What is the tone of the beginning of Chapter 9? Why do you think that Darwin and his …

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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  • … George Eliot was the pen name of the celebrated Victorian novelist Mary Ann Evans (1819-1880). She …

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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  • … four terminal crustacean segments were missing in barnacles.^9^ This archetypal cirripede was …
  • … be mistaken.’ ( Foundations , p. 201).    ^9^ CD discussed his conception of archetype in a …

Descent

Summary

There are more than five hundred letters associated with the research and writing of Darwin’s book, Descent of man and selection in relation to sex (Descent). They trace not only the tortuous route to eventual publication, but the development of Darwin’s…

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  • … and III. On Expression of the Emotions’ ( Academy , 9 October 1869, pp. 15–16).  By June 1870 …
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