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Darwin Correspondence Project

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Darwin in letters, 1865: Delays and disappointments

Summary

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…

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  • … In 1865, the chief work on Charles Darwin’s mind was the writing of  The variation of animals and …

The writing of "Origin"

Summary

From a quiet rural existence at Down in Kent, filled with steady work on his ‘big book’ on the transmutation of species, Darwin was jolted into action in 1858 by the arrival of an unexpected letter (no longer extant) from Alfred Russel Wallace outlining a…

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  • … When I was in spirits I sometimes fancied that my book w d  be successful; but I never even …

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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  • … Sources | Discussion Questions | Experiment A fascination with domestication …

3.2 Maull and Polyblank photo 1

Summary

< Back to Introduction The rise of professional photographic studios in the mid nineteenth century was a key factor in the shaping of Darwinian iconography, but Darwin’s relationship with these firms was from the start a cautious and sometimes a…

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  • … < Back to Introduction The rise of professional photographic studios in the mid …

George Robert Waterhouse

Summary

George Waterhouse was born on 6 March 1810 in Somers Town, North London. His father was a solicitor’s clerk and an amateur lepidopterist. George was educated from 1821-24 at Koekelberg near Brussels. On his return he worked for a time as an apprentice to…

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  • … George Waterhouse was born on 6 March 1810 in Somers Town, North London. His father was a …

2.11 Christian Lehr, plaster bust

Summary

< Back to Introduction A plaster bust of Darwin by the German artist Christian Wilhelm Jacob Lehr the younger, dating from 1883, has found its way to a historic zoological library in the Netherlands. This is the Artis Bibliotheek, Natura Artis…

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  • … < Back to Introduction A plaster bust of Darwin by the German artist Christian …

Charles Lyell

Summary

As an author, friend and correspondent, Charles Lyell played a crucial role in shaping Darwin's scientific life. Born to a wealthy gentry family in Scotland in 1797, Lyell had a classical and legal education but by the 1820s had become entranced by…

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  • … As an author, friend and correspondent, Charles Lyell played a crucial role in shaping Darwin's …

Bartholomew James Sulivan

Summary

On Christmas Day 1866, Bartholomew Sulivan sat down to write a typically long and chatty letter to his old friend, Charles Darwin, commiserating on shared ill-health, glorying in the achievements of their children, offering to collect plant specimens, and…

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  • … On Christmas Day 1866, Bartholomew Sulivan sat down to write a typically long and chatty letter to …

British Association meeting 1860

Summary

Several letters refer to events at the British Association for the Advancement of Science held in Oxford, 26 June – 3 July 1860. Darwin had planned to attend the meeting but in the end was unable to. The most famous incident of the meeting was the verbal…

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  • … Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Oxford, June–July 1860 …

Sexual selection

Summary

Although natural selection could explain the differences between species, Darwin realised that (other than in the reproductive organs themselves) it could not explain the often marked differences between the males and females of the same species.  So what…

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  • … Although natural selection could explain the differences  between  species, Darwin realised that …

Darwin’s queries on expression

Summary

When Darwin resumed systematic research on emotions around 1866, he began to collect observations more widely and composed a list of queries on human expression. A number of handwritten copies were sent out in 1867 (see, for example, letter to Fritz Muller…

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  • … When Darwin resumed systematic research on emotions around 1866, he began to collect observations …

2.1 Thomas Woolner bust

Summary

< Back to Introduction Thomas Woolner’s marble bust of Darwin was the first portrayal of him that reflected an important transition in his status in the later 1860s. In the 1840s–1850s Darwin had been esteemed within scientific circles as one among…

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  • … < Back to Introduction Thomas Woolner’s marble bust of Darwin was the first portrayal …

Darwin in letters, 1851-1855: Death of a daughter

Summary

The letters from these years reveal the main preoccupations of Darwin’s life with a new intensity. The period opens with a family tragedy in the death of Darwin’s oldest and favourite daughter, Anne, and it shows how, weary and mourning his dead child,…

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  • … The letters from these years reveal the main preoccupations of Darwin’s life with a new intensity. …

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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  • … The scientific results of the  Beagle  voyage still dominated Darwin's working life, but …
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