Darwin's Sources: An Exhibit for the 2008 A.C. Moore LectureThomas Cooper Library, Graniteville Room, Mezzanine Level
Apr 7, 2008 - Apr 25, 2008
This exhibit explores the books that Darwin acknowledged as the precursors of his own
(1859). In 1861, for the third edition, he added
a new “Historical Sketch of the Progress of Opinion,” and he continued to adapt
and polish that account through to his final revision for the sixth edition. The books
on display are chiefly drawn from the C. Warren Irvin, Jr. Collection of Charles
Darwin and Darwiniana, donated to the University by Dr. and Mrs. Irvin in 1995.
Since the original donation, a significant number of items have been added to the
collection, through the endowment that Dr. and Mrs. Irvin established; since the
collection of Darwin’s own first editions was completed, the collecting focus
for endowment funds has been on books that influenced Darwin or were influenced
Highlights include works by such well-known writers as Darwin’s grandfather
Erasmus, Malthus, Lamarck, Lyell, Owen, and Spencer, as well as lesser-known
figures such as the orchid expert the Rev. William Herbert, the Scottish timber
grower Patrick Matthew, the Dublin physician Henry Freke, and the Oxford
theologian Baden Powell (father of the founder of the Boy Scouts). The final
cases display the periodical article in which Darwin and Wallace first announced
the new theory, the first edition of Darwin’s famous book, an autograph letter by
him about reaction to the Origin, and contemporary caricatures of Darwin and
The exhibition has been mounted to mark the annual A.C. Moore Lectures in
Evolutionary Biology and Society, in the Department of Biological Sciences.
The Moore Lectures, endowed by a private donor in 2007, commemorate Prof.
Andrew Charles Moore (1866-1928), an 1887 graduate of the University of
South Carolina, who after a period of study in the Botany Department at the
University of Chicago returned to USC to teach, completed his Chicago PhD,
and in 1905 became the first chairman of a separate Department of Biology.
He twice served as Interim President, in 1908-1909 and again in 1913-1914.
The University’s A. C. Moore Herbarium is named for him.
For further information about the Irvin Collection, see
For information about the exhibit, contact 777-8154.