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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Tegetmeier   17 [October 1858]1

Down Bromley Kent


My dear Sir

I have just read Report of your interesting communication on Bee’s cell in the Athenæum.—2 You refer to me in very flattering manner.—3 But I write now to earnestly beg you to let me at some time see (specimens shall be returned), whenever hives are taken, any or all of your excavated cells in wax, & cylinders whether or no converted into hexagons. This would be of real use to me.—4

Furthermore pray do not forget at some time (not that you have ever forgotten most kindly to answer all my many & troublesome queries) to enquire about Mr. H. Weirs silver Barb, for this is first case that I have heard of in England of a Barb with any blue.—5

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

I am drawing up short notice for Gardeners’ Chronicle on importance of Bees in the fertilisation of Leguminosæ.—6


Dated by CD’s reference to having read a report about Tegetmeier’s work in the Athenæum (see n. 2, below).
The Athenæum, 16 October 1858, p. 492, carried a report of papers given in the natural history section of the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science held in Leeds in September 1858, including Tegetmeier’s paper (Tegetmeier 1858b). There is a copy of the Athenæum account in DAR 48 (ser. 2): 47.
According to the notice in the Athenæum, 16 October 1858, p. 492, Tegetmeier stated: ‘The mode in which the circular bases … become converted to polygonal cells as new bases are formed has been beautifully shown by Mr. Darwin in repeating, with many ingenious modifications, my original experiments.’
In his paper (Tegetmeier 1858b), Tegetmeier had stated that bees’ cells were cylindrical when the sides did not touch another cell. CD also believed that this was the case. CD had previously asked to see specimens of Tegetmeier’s cells (see letters to W. B. Tegetmeier, [21 April 1858], 9 May [1858], and 8 [June 1858] and n. 6). For CD’s calculations on the possible relationship between hexagons and circles, see letter from E. A. Darwin, [19 June 1858].
See letter to Gardeners’ Chronicle, [before 13 November 1858].


Athenæum. 1844. A few words by way of comment on Miss Martineau’s statement. No. 896 (28 December): 1198–9.


Has read WBT’s interesting communication on bees’ cells [Athenæum 16 Oct 1858]. Would like to see his excavated cells.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Sent from
Source of text
Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2344,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7