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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Secretary, Academia Caesarea Leopoldino-Carolina Naturae Curiosorum   8 September [1857]1

Down Farnborough Kent

Sept. 8th.


I beg most respectfully to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of Sept. 3d, and to express my sense of the very high honour which the Academia Cæs. Leopold. Car. Nat. Cur. has conferred on me.2

In answer to your questions I beg to state that my name is Charles Robert Darwin; that I was born at Shrewsbury on Feby. 12th 1809; that I am Magister Artium Cantabriensis, and Fellow of the Royal, the Geological, Linnean, Royal Geographical, Zoological, and Entomological Societies of London.—

With the highest respect, I have the honour to remain, Sir, | Your obliged & obedient servant | Ch. R. Darwin To the Honourable Secretary | Acad. Cæs. Leopold. Car. &c &c


CD was elected a member of the German Academy of Naturalists in 1857 (see n. 2, below).
The German Academy of Naturalists, known as the Leopoldina, was the most prestigious scientific academy in Germany and the first in Europe to elect CD to membership. It was the custom of the academy to give a new member a cognomen, a name celebrated in the branch of science to which he belonged. CD was named after Johann Reinhold Forster (1729–98), the German naturalist who had accompanied James Cook on his circumnavigation of the globe, 1772–5 (LL 3: 375 n.). For CD’s reaction to his election, see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 11 September [1857].


LL: The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter. Edited by Francis Darwin. 3 vols. London: John Murray. 1887–8.


CD acknowledges honour of his election to the Academy.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2138,” accessed on 16 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6