The Darwin-Hooker Letters
March 31, 2013 7:34 PM   Subscribe

The Cambridge University Library houses the world's largest collection of Charles Darwin's letters: more than 9,000 of the 15,000 letters he is known to have written and received in his lifetime. They've been posting them online since 2007 (previously on MeFi), in the Darwin Correspondence Project, where we can now read and search the full texts of more than 7,500 letters, and find information on 7,500 more -- all for free. This weekend, they added nearly all of the Darwin-Hooker letters: Over 1400 pieces of correspondence between Darwin and his closest friend, botanist Joseph Hooker.

Complete transcripts of all known letters Darwin wrote and received up to the year 1869 are available.

BBC: Charles Darwin letters reveal his emotional side:
Of the many letters that Darwin wrote and received in his life, among the most important were his correspondence with his friend of 40 years, Joseph Hooker. As well as tracking the development of Darwin's scientific ideas, the letters give an intimate insight into a Victorian friendship.
Time Magazine: Cambridge Publishes Charles Darwin’s Secret Letters Online

Top Ten Letters
The Project has pages for "Top Ten Letters" in certain categories:

* Darwin-Hooker Letters
* Gender
* Geology
* Human Nature
* Life Science
* Religion

Also See
* Darwin Online
* Previously on MeFi: The World of Life and For the study of nature and the search for the truth (both about Alfred Russel Wallace)
* American Museum of Natural History: Charles Darwin's Manuscripts
posted by zarq (7 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Great post zarq.
Joseph Hooker is worth exploring a bit as well. He was arguably the most important British botanist of the nineteenth century.
posted by adamvasco at 7:52 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hooker: I must confess that I was (Fanny has just had a fine boy, excuse the interruption)

Darwin: We are both heartily rejoiced, & this not in a parenthesis, that Mrs Hooker is safe through her affair.


This is wonderful, zarq. Thank you.
posted by Bokmakierie at 8:46 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

I read this delectable tidbit about Darwin yesterday:
In 1838, when Darwin was first thinking of marriage, he made an irresistible series of notes on the subject - a scientific-seeming list of marriage pros and cons.

Against the idea, he listed "the expense and anxiety of children" and the odd truth that a married man could never "go up in a balloon".

In favour of marriage, he included the acquisition of a "constant companion and friend in old age" and, memorably and conclusively, decided that a wife would be "better than a dog, anyhow".
posted by the cydonian at 9:27 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

On April 1st this is my favorite cat pic.
posted by maggieb at 10:16 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Darwin thoughts regarding cats...

What were they?
posted by Skygazer at 11:49 AM on April 1, 2013

QED. --> Darwin's thoughts on kittens with blue eyes (this is a marvelous thing Zarq):

I have lately observed that all kittens have blue eyes when they first open them; & before they open them, they seem to me after several trials, absolutely deaf;—so that I fancy there is at first some correlation between the blue eyes & deafness, & that the blueness is carried on in the old cats, by a sort of correlation or arrest of development the deafness continues; but my ideas are vague enough.—
posted by Skygazer at 12:07 PM on April 1, 2013

An old tradition
posted by homunculus at 3:16 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

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