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Special Collections - Bioscience, Natural Resources & Public Health Library: Darwin Collection

A guide to the special collections at the Bioscience, Natural Resources & Public Health Library

About the Darwin Collection

The Darwin collection in the Bioscience, Natural Resources & Public Health Library (regular stacks, Locked Case, and NRLF) is one of the most complete collections of the various editions of the books published during Darwin's life. Much of the Darwin collection originated with Charles Kofoid's 1947 donation of 530 Darwinia volumes, which included all the English and American editions of Darwin's works, as well as many in other European languages, up to 1946. The Bioscience Library has the complete 17 volumes of the British and American editions of "The Origin..." (QH365.O7), one of the only library in the world to have this set.

We own first or early editions of Darwin's books published in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, Danish, and probably more. All of these translations are now in NRLF. The Darwin collection includes first editions of his grandfather Erasmus Darwin's works (now in Bancroft Library), and such rarities as the selection of Darwin's letters that Prof Henslow published in 1838 for the Cambridge Philosophical Society, not to mention a book written on mucus by his namesake uncle published posthumously after the uncle died of blood poisoning from cutting himself during an autopsy at the University of Edinborough. Also in the collection is a letter written by Darwin as well as one written by his wife, Emma.

Under the call number QH31.D2 is an interesting collection of Darwinia, including correspondence between Kofoid and Darwin's British publisher, John Murray.

For further information about the collection and its establishment, please contact us.

Selected Darwiniana

Selected Darwinia in the Locked Case:

k-QH365.D7. First edition of Origin of the Species. One of 1250 copies (The Bancroft also has one).

k-F2636.F56 v.3. Researches in Geology and Natural History, Darwin's volume of the Voyage of the Beagle. It was very popular and later republished as Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology (QH11.D3).
fQL5.D3 v.3. Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle. Darwin supervised these volumes, v.3 is on birds with descriptions and illustrations by John Gould ('the English Audubon').
QH365.E95. Extracts of Darwin's letters to Prof. Henslow. Not of scientific interest but extremely rare. (5 copies listed in OCLC.)
k-QH31.D22.A5. Letter by Emma Darwin.
QH365.D251. Letter by Charles Darwin.

Darwin Online