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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. T. Smith   4 January 1860

Down Bromley Kent

Jan 4th.— 60

Dear Sir

I am much obliged for your kind note.—1 I remember well reading some years ago I think in Geolog. Trans. your memoir, & admiring the care which you had bestowed on the subject, & the anomalous nature of the Ventriculidæ.—2 I shd be much obliged if you would take the trouble to point out the considerations referred to, & if you have a copy to spare I shd be grateful for it.— I am, however, just at present so much engaged, that it is not likely that I shall be able immediately to study your memoir again, but my own interest will prevent me forgetting the subject—

With my best thanks I remain dear Sir | Yours faithfully & obliged | Charles Darwin


The letter has not been found.
CD had misremembered, as Smith’s work on the Ventriculidae of the Chalk (fossilised siliceous sponges from the Cretaceous period) was published in the Annals and Magazine of Natural History 20 (1847): 73–97; 176–91, and not in the Transactions of the Geological Society of London. It was published as a book in 1848 (J. T. Smith 1848); there is a copy in the Darwin Library–Down. The name Ventriculidae is no longer used for the family of glass sponges as it had earlier been assigned to a family of snails; it has been replaced by the order Lychniscosa. For more on Smith’s collections and their classification, see Long et al. 2003. See also Correspondence vol. 8, letter from J. T. Smith, 6 January 1860.


Remembers reading Smith’s memoir in Geological Transactions on the anomalous nature of Ventriuculidae. Asks for a copy.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joshua Toulmin Smith
Sent from
Source of text
Indiana University, The Lilly Library (Sieveking mss)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2637F,” accessed on 1 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)