skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Galton   11 December 1869

42 Rutland Gate. S.W.

Dec 11. 69

My dear Darwin

I wonder if you could help me. I want to make some peculiar experiments that have occurred to me, in breeding animals and want to procure a few couples of rabbits of marked and assured breeds—viz:

Lop-ears with as little tendency to Albinism as possible. Common rabbits ditto Angora albinos

and I find myself wholly unable to get them, though I have asked many people. Do you know anybody who has such things.?1

I write without your book in reach, but you there especially mention a breeder of Angoras.2 Also you quote with approbation from Delamer’s little book.3 Are either or both of those men accessible & likely to help.?

Pray excuse my troubling you— the interest of the proposed experiment—for it is really a curious one,—must be my justification

Very sincerely yrs. | Francis Galton


On Galton’s published experiments on heredity in rabbits, see Galton 1871; see page 400 for the breeds of rabbits he worked with. For accounts of the experiments, see also Pearson 1914–30, 2: 156–66, and Bulmer 2003, pp. 116–18.
CD mentioned Robert Heron as a breeder of angora rabbits in Variation 2: 92; the source of his information was probably an extract included in the letter from William Yarrell, [c. 17 December 1838] (Correspondence vol. 2).
CD quoted Eugene Sebastian Delamer’s Pigeons and rabbits, in their wild, domestic, and captive states (Delamer 1854) in Variation 1: 107. There is an annotated copy of Delamer 1854 in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 190). Eugene Sebastian Delamer was a pseudonym of Edmund Saul Dixon. See also Correspondence vol. 5, letter from Edward Blyth, 4 August 1855 and n. 7.


Bulmer, Michael. 2003. Francis Galton: pioneer of heredity and biometry. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

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

Delamer, Eugene Sebastian [Edmund Saul Dixon]. 1854. Pigeons and rabbits, in their wild, domestic, & captive states. London: G. Routledge.

Galton, Francis. 1871. Experiments in pangenesis, by breeding from rabbits of a pure variety, into whose circulation blood taken from other varieties had previously been largely transfused. [Read 30 March 1871.] Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 19 (1870–1): 393–410.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.

Pearson, Karl. 1914–30. The life, letters and labours of Francis Galton. 3 vols. in 4. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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


Asks CD’s advice on procuring rabbits for experiments [to test Pangenesis by transfusing alien blood into does and breeding from them].

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Galton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Rutland Gate, 42
Source of text
DAR 105: 1–2
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7026,” accessed on 22 June 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17