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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Emma Gärtner   9 June [1860]1

Down Bromley Kent

June 9th


I thank you sincerely for your most kind note & for your presents,2 which I shall value much & shall no doubt receive in due time. I have long venerated your Father & estimated his two great works most highly.3 I can perfectly well believe that the “search after truth was the leading principle of his life & labours”; I was thoroughily impressed with this, after reading them; & strict conscientiousness seemed to me their noble & prevailing character.—   I shall be very glad to read something of his life; for I remember some few years ago enquiring on the subject, as I had got to feel so much interest in his great labours; but did not then hear of his life.—

Your Father’s name is pretty well known in this country, but not so universally as it ought to be, & not nearly well enough known in France, judging from such French Books as I read. If I can in ever so little degree make it more generally known I shall be pleased; & in my larger work I shall have to quote him far oftener. But your Father’s works have enduring merit, & will certainly be of high service to science many years after I am dead & gone.—

With sincere thanks for your letter, which has given me much satisfaction, & with my gratitude for your most kind presents, believe me Madam, with much respect, | Yours sincerely & obliged | Charles Darwin


Dated by the relationship to the letter to Emma Gärtner, 14 July [1860].
Emma Gärtner was the daughter of the late German botanist Karl Friedrich von Gärtner, whose works CD frequently cited in his species manuscript (Natural selection) and in Origin and Variation. The ‘presents’ included engravings of Gärtner and a copy of Gustav Jäger’s obituary notice (Jäger 1851). Jäger’s biographical notice, inscribed by Emma Gärtner, is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. See letter to Emma Gärtner, 14 July [1860].
CD studied Gärtner’s works on hybridisation very closely during the 1850s. His annotated copies of Gärtner 1844 and 1849 are in the Darwin Library–CUL; further notes on these works are in DAR 116. See Correspondence vol. 5.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Gärtner, Karl Friedrich von. 1844. Versuche und Beobachtungen über die Befruchtungsorgane der vollkommeneren Gewächse und über die natürliche und künstliche Befruchtung durch den eigenen Pollen. Pt 1 of Beiträge zur Kenntniss der Befruchtung der vollkommeneren Gewächse. Stuttgart: E. Schweizerbart.

Jäger, Gustav. 1851. Zum Andenken an den den 1. Mai 1772 geborenen den 1. September 1850 zu Calw gestorbenen Botaniker Dr Carl Friedrich von Gärtner. Stuttgart.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Has long venerated her father [Carl F. von Gärtner]. Looks forward to reading his life. CD will do everything he can to make Gärtner’s name more generally known.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Emma Gärtner
Sent from
Source of text
Duke University, Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RL.10387)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2827,” accessed on 21 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8