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Darwin Correspondence Project

From K. E. von Baer   5 May 1873


23 April/5 Mai 18731

Sir | and most illustrious naturalist.

I am told you wish a photography of me. That is a great honour for me. I send therefore a photogra photography made when I was near to my 66th. year of age.2 There are others of a more recent time but they express too much the decline of age. I am now in my 80th year

I possess your portrait in Octavo from the German translation of your work on variation.3 But I habe a collection a collection of little photographical portraits of naturalists in a so called album und there your photography is wantig. If you could send me a such cart as mein in this lettre, you would very much oblige me.

I beg you Sir, to excuse the audacity to write to you in English.

Your most obedient and respectfull | Dr K. E. v Baer


Baer gives both the Julian (23 April) and Gregorian (5 May) calendar dates.
The photograph has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL.
CD’s portrait appeared in the third German edition of Origin (Bronn and Carus trans. 1867) not in the German translation of Variation (Carus trans. 1868). See Correspondence vol. 15, letter from E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 22 March 1867 and n. 8.


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

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 been told CD wants photo of him; sends one. Requests a portrait photo of CD for his album. KEvB apologises for his English and his shaky hand; he is 88 years old.

Letter details

Letter no.
Karl Ernst von Baer
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Dorpat Tartu
Source of text
DAR 160: 15
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8900,” accessed on 20 January 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21