Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury in 1809 and died at Down House, Downe in Kent in 1882. The most celebrated naturalist of the nineteenth century, he graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1831.
A grandson of Erasmus Darwin of Lichfied and of Josiah Wedgwood, he early in life showed an interest in collecting and natural history but it was to read medicine that he entered the University of Edinburgh in 1825, intending to follow his father Robert's career as a doctor. However, Darwin found himself uninspired and in some areas repelled by his studies and left Edinburgh without graduating in 1827.
With the intention of entering the church, Darwin came up to Cambridge in 1828, and though not finding the formal studies any more to his taste than those at Edinburgh he formed a friendship with the Professor of Botany, John Stevens Henslow, and enthusiastically began to study the subject. Having graduated, Darwin was recommended by Henslow to Robert Fitzroy, commander of HM Sloop 'Beagle', as a naturalist to sail on a circumnavigational voyage Fitzroy was planning. Returning from the Beagle voyage in 1836, Darwin enjoyed a publishing success with his volume "Journal of Researches... " drawn from his collecting and observations undertaken during the Voyage of HMS Beagle. He married his cousin Emma Wedgwood in 1839 and in 1842 moved to the Kent village of Down, where he spent the rest of his life. It was at Down House that Darwin wrote "On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection... ", 1859, and a series of monographs in botany, entomology and anthropology of the greatest importance.
The catalogue to the Charles Darwin Papers: http://darwin.amnh.org/browse.php?mode=uc&pid=72001
THE COLLECTION consists of, for example, portfolios of notes for Darwin's published and unpublished essays, books and articles, reading notes including abstracts, theoretical notes, observations and experimental data, relevant correspondence, cuttings, caricatures and illustrative material; drafts, copies, and proofs of published and unpublished works; Species Notebooks; diaries; specimens; albums; maps; photographs; juvenilia; Beagle natural history and geology materials; autobiographical and biographical material; reviews; reading notebooks and abstracts of books and periodicals together with some 9,000 of the known 15,000 letters in the correspondence of Charles Darwin.
PROVENANCE: This material originates in the work of his son Francis, who published two editions of his father's letters, in 1887 and 1903 when he collected as many of Charles's letters and papers as possible, and these remained in the family after Francis died. In 1942, by an arrangement with the descendants of Charles Darwin, the Pilgrim Trust acquired and donated to the University of Cambridge the core body of the papers of Charles Darwin that are today housed in Cambridge University Library.
Due to difficulties resulting from wartime conditions it was only in 1948 that the papers finally arrived in the Library.
Over the years since the publication listing the 1942 accession in 1960, the ''Handlist of Darwin Papers at the University Library Cambridge '' there have been many accessions to the Darwin papers, by donation of the family, other donations, deposits and by purchase. In 1975, for instance, the Library acquired an important supplementary collection of Darwin papers hitherto retained by Sir Robin Darwin and by a generous gift of George Pember Darwin, another large accrual of Charles Darwin papers came to the Library in 1991. In 1995 a substantial body of manuscripts previously held at Down House was transferred on deposit to the University Library for safe-keeping by the Natural History Museum, London.
The collection continues to accrue by donation, purchase, deposit and gift.
The Charles Darwin Papers are only consulted in the Department of Manuscripts & University Archives Reading Room of Cambridge University Library.
The Room is open Monday to Friday from 09:30 to 18:50, and each Saturday between 09:30 and 12:30. A restricted number of reserved and pre-ordered manuscripts may be read on Saturday afternoon from 13:00 until 16:30 in the Rare Books Reading Room.
Closed on all Sundays. For opening hours see http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/deptserv/openinghours.html
Booking: Although it is not essential for those holding a full Reader's Card to book in advance, all readers are strongly advised to contact either the Department of Manuscripts or Curator of Scientific Manuscripts prior to visiting the collection.
Credentials: to read in the Manuscripts Reading Room a full Reader's Card is necessary, for the issue of which a letter of academical introduction is required. Full details of eligibility are specified on the Library website at: http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/eligibility.htm
A charge may be made for the issue of a Reader's Card
Please cite as Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives, Charles Darwin Papers, MS DAR
FINDING AIDS: All the above noted accessions now form the collection known as the Charles Darwin Papers of Cambridge University Library.
The 'Pilgrim Trust Donation' was first catalogued in a booklet published in 1960 by the Library ''Handlist of Darwin Papers at the University Library Cambridge'', the anonymous author of which was the scholar in Darwin studies, Sydney Smith.
Listing of the additions to the collection by Peter Gautrey and Adam Perkins (1960 to 2008) was, perforce, rudimentary until the work of Nick Gill beginning in the University Library in the latter 1990s, Gill creating the first fully detailed catalogue of the entire corpus, this until late 2009 existing only as a paper print-out of ca. 2000. All these historic lists are accessible in the Department of Manuscripts Reading Room.
In 2008 the machine-readable text edited by Gill was further edited and expanded by David Kohn, a Darwin scholar and Director of the Darwin Manuscripts Project of the American Museum of Natural History, New York, supported by the National Science Foundation. It is the work of Gill and Kohn that forms the database here presented as the first and only on-line catalogue to the papers of Charles Darwin in Cambridge University Library: http://darwin.amnh.org/browse.php
CONTACT DEPARTMENT OF MANUSCRIPTS or Curator of Scientific Manuscripts: Department of Manuscripts and University Archives, Cambridge University Library, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR, email@example.com; telephone: +44 (0) 1223 333000 (switchboard), +44 (0) 1223 333143/765689 (direct lines with answering facility); facsimile: +44 (0) 1223 33316. For specific curatorial enquiries, to Adam Perkins, Curator of Scientific Manuscripts firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0) 1223 333056.
COPIES: Manuscripts Department Microfilms:
MS.DAR.1 to MS.DAR.119 on MS.Microfilm.9956 to MS.Microfilm.9989
MS.DAR.120 to MS.DAR.186 on MS.Microfilm.10006 to MS.Microfilm.10038
MS.DAR.187 to MS.DAR.226 on MS.Microfilm.10679 to MS.Microfilm.10725
MS.DAR.242 on MS.Microfilm.11377 to MS.Microfilm.11380
For research purposes only, images of a large number of MS.DAR manuscripts derived from the master microfilms of the collection may be read at the Darwin Manuscripts Project web-site: http://darwin.amnh.org/
See "Charles Darwin's Notebooks 1836-1844" for complete verbatim transcriptions of MS.DAR.118 and MSS.DAR.121 to DAR.126 + DAR.206
Library classmarks Cam.b.987.1 and 379:5.b.95.34 (on-line at http://darwin.amnh.org/)
All the correspondence of Charles Darwin 1821 to 1869 is transcribed in volumes 1 to 18 of "The correspondence of Charles Darwin " (later volumes/years being published)
Library classmarks 379:2.c.95.96- and 9379.c.372-
The letters 1821 to 1867 may be read on-line as transcriptions via the Darwin Correspondence web-site http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/home
LOCATION OF ORIGINALS: Cambridge University Library Department of Manuscripts & University Archives Reading Room
[Text edited 2011 June 24 by Adam Perkins, CUL]