skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From V. O. Kovalevsky   15 May 1867

Dear Sir

The same day when my lamentable letter was send to You I received the 5 proof sheets You had the goodness to send me on the 2 May. But still I have been patient enough and waited ten long days after the receipt of Your letter, it was impossible for me to bear this longer and so I wrote You my letter (even registered it) which You no doubt received yesterday.1

I thank You dear Sir most cordially for all the kindness You show to me, believe me I shall always remember it.

For the future I shall beg You to put the sheets in letter covers and send them on my adress without prepaying (non affranchie) it is the safest way,— prepaid letters are often lost but unprepaid always reach in Russia their destination

Believe me | Dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | W. Kowalewsky

May 3/15 1867.2

P.S. I am also the editor of the large and beautiful work of Brehm Thierleben, I translated the two big volumes myself and am now translating the III vol. Birds, as You certainly are aware in this work nearly all the varieties of Dogs & Cats etc you mention in Your work are represented by very good & true woodcuts, as I have the tsereotypes of Brehm’s work, I think to print them on separate sheets & put them at the end of the volume. So the reader will have the woodcuts of all the varieties & species You mention in Your work, and the striking facts You mention in your book will be much better understood and appreciated, I dont think that such a Plan can be objected to, because, as the woodcuts shall be printed separately from the text, every one is at liberty if wishing to conserve the book in the form of the original, has only to tear the additional sheets and to trow them away. I shoul like very much Your opinion on the subject, but in case You have not seen the work I mention, I pray You to do so.— it is: Brehm Illustrirtes Thierleben 1863–1868.3


Kovalevsky refers to proof-sheets of Variation, which he was translating into Russian. See letter to V. O. Kovalevsky, 2 May [1867], and letter from V. O. Kovalevsky, 14 May 1867.
Kovalevsky gives both the Julian (3 May) and Gregorian (15 May) calendar dates.
Alfred Edmund Brehm’s Illustrirtes Thierleben (Brehm et al. 1864–9) was issued in parts between 1863 and 1869 (NUC). Kovalevsky’s Russian translation was published between 1866 and 1870 ([Kovalevsky] trans. 1866–70).


[Kovalevsky, Vladimir Onufrievich], trans. 1866–70. Illyustrirovannaya zhin zhivotnykh; vseobshchaya istoriya zhivotnago tsarstva. By Alfred Edmund Brehm. (Russian translation of Brehm et al. 1864–9.) 4 vols. in 5. St Petersburg: Kukol-Yasnopolskii.

NUC: The national union catalog. Pre-1956 imprints. 685 vols. and supplement (69 vols.). London and Chicago: Mansell. 1968–81.

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


Lost proofs have arrived.

Proposes to append the woodcuts of dog and cat varieties from Brehm [Illustrirtes Thierleben (1864–7)], which he has also translated, to the Russian edition of Variation.

Letter details

Letter no.
Vladimir Onufrievich Kovalevsky (Владимир Онуфриевич Ковалевский)
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 169: 75
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5537,” accessed on 24 October 2021,

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