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Darwin Correspondence Project

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List of correspondents

Summary

Below is a list of Darwin's correspondents with the number of letters for each one. Click on a name to see the letters Darwin exchanged with that correspondent.    "A child of God" (1) Abberley,…

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Darwin’s reading notebooks

Summary

In April 1838, Darwin began recording the titles of books he had read and the books he wished to read in Notebook C (Notebooks, pp. 319–28). In 1839, these lists were copied and continued in separate notebooks. The first of these reading notebooks (DAR 119…

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  • … (DAR 119) opens with five pages of text copied from Notebook C and carries on through 1851; the …
  • … in brutes Blackwood June 1838 [J. F. Ferrie 1838]. H. C. Watson on Geog. distrib: of Brit: …
  • … Society ].— Flora of St Helena 1825 [A. Watson 1825] in Library of Hort. Soc Journal …
  • … 14 s . [Downing 1845] (Brit. Museum) (read) good H. Watson in Phytologist. April May or …
  • … Whewell on Education [Whewell 1845–52]. Dec: 26. Watson History of Philip 2 d . (3 vols:) …
  • … [Seringe 1845–7]. (nothing) —— 9 th  H. C. Watson. Cybele Britannica [H. C. Watson 1847–59] …
  • … F. Smith on Apidæ [F. Smith 1855] 15 H C. Watson Remarks on Geograph distrib. of British …

Darwin in letters, 1856-1857: the 'Big Book'

Summary

In May 1856, Darwin began writing up his 'species sketch’ in earnest. During this period, his working life was completely dominated by the preparation of his 'Big Book', which was to be called Natural selection. Using letters are the main…

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The writing of "Origin"

Summary

From a quiet rural existence at Down in Kent, filled with steady work on his ‘big book’ on the transmutation of species, Darwin was jolted into action in 1858 by the arrival of an unexpected letter (no longer extant) from Alfred Russel Wallace outlining a…

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  • … revealing his reason or his own opinion. Hewett Cottrell Watson and Charles Cardale Babington …
  • … it is impossible that men like Lyell, Hooker, Huxley, H. C. Watson, Ramsay &c would change their …

The "wicked book": Origin at 157

Summary

Origin is 157 years old.  (Probably) the most famous book in science was published on 24 November 1859.  To celebrate we have uploaded hundreds of new images of letters, bringing the total number you can look at here to over 9000 representing more than…

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Darwin in letters, 1858-1859: Origin

Summary

The years 1858 and 1859 were, without doubt, the most momentous of Darwin’s life. From a quiet rural existence filled with steady work on his ‘big book’ on species, he was jolted into action by the arrival of an unexpected letter from Alfred Russel Wallace…

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  • … revealing his reason or his own opinion. Hewett Cottrell Watson and Charles Cardale Babington …
  • … it is impossible that men like Lyell, Hooker, Huxley, H. C. Watson, Ramsay &c would change their …

Darwin in letters, 1851-1855: Death of a daughter

Summary

The letters from these years reveal the main preoccupations of Darwin’s life with a new intensity. The period opens with a family tragedy in the death of Darwin’s oldest and favourite daughter, Anne, and it shows how, weary and mourning his dead child,…

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  • … such as the prominent botanists Asa Gray and Hewett Cottrell Watson or outspoken young naturalists …

Darwin in letters, 1860: Answering critics

Summary

On 7 January 1860, John Murray published the second edition of Darwin’s Origin of species, printing off another 3000 copies to satisfy the demands of an audience that surprised both the publisher and the author. It wasn't long, however, before ‘the…

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  • … the creatures themselves. The evolutionist Hewett Cottrell Watson argued for the concept of …
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