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Darwin Correspondence Project

To William Ogle   29 March [1867]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Mar 29.

Dear Sir

I am much obliged for your great kindness in writing to me.2 The subject of inheritance interests me greatly, & I have to treat of it in a book which I am now printing.3

I am glad to hear about the inheritance of deficient phalanges, but as several cases are recorded I do not feel as yet sure whether I will quote it.4

The case of the twins strikes me as extremely interesting, & I shd much like to quote it on yr authority; but I shd much wish to know, if you will not object to the trouble of writing again to me, whether the little finger which was crooked occurred on the same (right or left) hand in the 2 children; & 2ndly did the misplaced tooth occur in the first or second dentition & what tooth was it? Was it also the same tooth in the 2 children?5

I hope that you will excuse me asking these questions & accept my sincere thanks for yr kindness.

I beg leave to remain | my dear Sir | yours faithfully | Charles Darwin


The year is established by the reference to the printing of Variation (see n. 3, below).
The letter from Ogle has not been found.
CD discussed inheritance at length in Variation, for which he had been correcting proof-sheets since early March 1867 (see CD’s ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 15, Appendix II)).
CD discussed missing fingers in a section on inheritance limited to one sex in Variation 2: 73.
No reply from Ogle has been found. In Variation 2: 253, CD specified that the little fingers on both hands of each twin were crooked, and that the misplaced tooth was the second bicuspid of the second dentition in the upper jaw.


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

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


Thanks WO for information on inheritance of deficient phalanges [Variation 2:73] and for interesting case of the occurrence of anomalous fingers and teeth in twins[Variation 2: 253].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Ogle
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 261.5: 1 (EH 88205899)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5470,” accessed on 21 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15