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Darwin Correspondence Project

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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…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … one of the few people whose visits Darwin encouraged.  In 1862 he organised a reunion at Down with …

Arthur Mellersh

Summary

Arthur Mellersh was a midshipman (promoted to mate during the voyage) serving on the Beagle at the time when Darwin was travelling around the world. One account suggests an inauspicious start to their friendship; apparently Mellersh introduced himself…

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  • … come to Down for dinner and to stay overnight on 21 October 1862 . The visit was not a success, …

Conrad Martens

Summary

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

  • … in 1855, and at the International Exhibition in London in 1862, the year in which he also sent …

Rewriting Origin - the later editions

Summary

For such an iconic work, the text of Origin was far from static. It was a living thing that Darwin continued to shape for the rest of his life, refining his ‘one long argument’ through a further five English editions.  Many of his changes were made in…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … in April 1861 1 st French edition published May 1862 2d German translation, 1863 …
  • … edition, Bronn’s second German translation, published in 1862, contained revisions not made in the …

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 …

John Lubbock

Summary

John Lubbock was eight years old when the Darwins moved into the neighbouring property of Down House, Down, Kent; the total of one hundred and seventy surviving letters he went on to exchange with Darwin is a large number considering that the two men lived…

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  • … proposed Darwin for the Royal Society's Copley Medal in 1862 and 1863, and helped found the X …

Virginia Isitt: Darwin’s secretary?

Summary

In an undated and incomplete draft letter to a “Miss I.”, Emma Darwin appears to be arranging for Miss I. to come to Down for a trial period as a secretary. When the letter first came to light, no one had heard of the mysterious “Miss I.” and, as far as we…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … the Darwin connection. Additionally, he told us that between 1862 and 1863 Miss Isitt had studied …

Darwin’s Photographic Portraits

Summary

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…

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  • … often praised when sending them to friends near and far. In 1862 Darwin wrote to his old shipmate …

Darwin in letters,1866: Survival of the fittest

Summary

The year 1866 began well for Charles Darwin, as his health, after several years of illness, was now considerably improved. In February, Darwin received a request from his publisher, John Murray, for a new edition of  Origin. Darwin got the fourth…

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  • … by debates about a suitable translator, Bronn having died in 1862. Finally, Julius Victor Carus, a …
  • … on dimorphism and dichogamy. As he had done since 1862, Darwin relied on assistance from his …

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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  • … year . While on holiday in Bournemouth in September 1862 for the sake of his son Leonard’s …

Was Darwin an ecologist?

Summary

One of the most fascinating aspects of Charles Darwin’s correspondence is the extent to which the experiments he performed at his home in Down, in the English county of Kent, seem to prefigure modern scientific work in ecology.

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  • … insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing (Orchids: 1862), which was the next major work he …
  • … for life  . London: John Murray. Darwin, Charles. 1862.  On the various contrivances by …

Darwin in letters, 1860: Answering critics

Summary

On 7 January 1860, John Murray published the second edition of Darwin’s Origin of species, printing off another 3000 copies to satisfy the demands of an audience that surprised both the publisher and the author. It wasn't long, however, before ‘the…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … next year and published the results of the orchid study in 1862. Back to the origin of sex: …
  • … He presented the results of his study in a paper of 1862 and in  The different forms of flowers on …

Correlation of growth: deaf blue-eyed cats, pigs, and poison

Summary

As he was first developing his ideas, among the potential problems Darwin recognised with natural selection was how to account for developmental change that conferred no apparent advantage.  He proposed a ‘mysterious law’ of ‘correlation of growth’ where…

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  • … data by mobilising army doctors in the British colonies. In 1862 he got permission to send out a …

Darwin in letters, 1869: Forward on all fronts

Summary

At the start of 1869, Darwin was hard at work making changes and additions for a fifth edition of  Origin. He may have resented the interruption to his work on sexual selection and human evolution, but he spent forty-six days on the task. Much of the…

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  • … subject that he had been acquiring since its publication in 1862. Darwin asked his son William to …

Darwin in letters, 1867: A civilised dispute

Summary

Charles Darwin’s major achievement in 1867 was the completion of his large work, The variation of animals and plants under domestication (Variation). The importance of Darwin’s network of correspondents becomes vividly apparent in his work on expression in…

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  • … would confirm points that Darwin had only conjectured in his 1862 study, On the various contrivances …

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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  • … The year 1870 is aptly summarised by the brief entry Darwin made in his journal: ‘The whole of the …

Darwin’s reading notebooks

Summary

In April 1838, Darwin began recording the titles of books he had read and the books he wished to read in Notebook C (Notebooks, pp. 319–28). In 1839, these lists were copied and continued in separate notebooks. The first of these reading notebooks (DAR 119…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … du rire. In–8.  A. Durand . 3 fr. 117  [Dumont 1862] Goethe. — Œuvres d’histoires …
  • … à Buffon.) Paris.  *119: 14v. Dumont, Léon. 1862.  Des causes du rire.  Paris.  *128: …
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