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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. E. Darwin   11 February [1871]1


Feb 11.

My dear William.

I have got a good deal of information about the pouting of children of savages, & this makes me wish much for precise details about the pouting of English children.2 None of you children ever pouted. All that I can remember is, that some sulky or sullen young children protrude their lips, frown, & often utter a booing or mooing noise.— It wd not be likely that Langstaff3 who wd be by far the best observer wd. see a pouting child—

Was it not Sandford4 who made some observations on expression for me?— Has he children? Do you know any observing lady who attends an infant school?— Think whether you could aid me.—

I am the more interested, as I fully believe that Pouting is a vestige (an embryonic relic during youth) of a very common expression of the adult anthropomorphous apes when excited in many ways.—5

Let us hear how you get on. | Yours affectly. | C.D


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from F. S. B. F. de Chaumont to W. E. Darwin, 11 March 1871.
Question 14 in CD’s Queries about expression was, ‘Do children when sulky pout and greatly protrude their lips?’ (see Correspondence vol. 19, Appendix VII). Copies of the queries were sent to correspondents from all parts of the world.
Charles Langstaff.
Sandford has not been identified.
In Expression, pp. 234–5, CD discussed the protrusion of the lips in anthropoid apes and its relation to pouting in human children.


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

Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.


Would like precise details about pouting of English children to add to his information about children of savages.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
Natural History Museum (General Special Collections MSS DAR 31)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8208,” accessed on 25 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19