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The C. Warren Irvin, Jr., Collection of Darwin and Darwiniana

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Ernst Ludwig Krause, 1839-1903
Life of Erasmus Darwin, with a preliminary notice by Charles Darwin
London, John Murray, 1879.

The Life of Erasmus Darwin, a composite work, contains a translation of Krause's brief life, originally published in the German periodical Kosmos, and Darwin's longer "preliminary notice". The change of pace from scientific inquiry to biography clearly stimulated Darwin, who worked intently on the project. He corresponded with numerous Darwin cousins, seeking information and reminiscences. To one he wrote: "The more I read of Dr. D. the higher he rises in my estimation", adding the anguished cry of the celebrity, "I am very tired to death with writing letters; half the fools throughout Europe write to ask me the stupidest questions". Comments in Krause's Life critical of the recently-published Evolution old and new by the novelist Samuel Butler, grandson and namesake of Darwin's former headmaster, led to Butler's violent attack on Darwin in the January 31, 1880 issue of the Athenaeum. Butler, a Lamarckian, thought Darwin a minor figure relative to Buffon, Erasmus Darwin and Lamarck. 

Alfred Russel Wallace, 1823-1913
Contributions to the theory of natural selection
London, Macmillan & Co., 1870.

In 1858 Darwin, who was now convinced that all species develop from previously existing life forms, received a paper on evolution from Alfred Russel Wallace, a Malaya-based naturalist. Its contents tallied precisely with his own theories. This spurred Darwin to publish his own work. On July 1, 1858, Wallace's and Darwin's papers were jointly presented to the Linnaean Society. Contributions to the theory of natural selection, a collection of ten essays by Wallace, was published in 1870. 

Alfred Russel Wallace, 1823-1913
Natural selection and tropical nature
London, Macmillan, 1891.

Wallace, who worked and studied in Malaya from 1854 to 1862, based much of his theoretical writing on field observations from this area. 

Alfred Russel Wallace, 1823-1913
Geographical distribution of animals
London, Macmillan, 1876.

The formulation of the science of zoogeography—the study of the worldwide distribution of animal life and the interrelationship of species within the pattern—is perhaps Wallace's most lasting scientific contribution. Darwin termed this book: "a grand and memorable work, which will last for years as the foundation for all future treatises". 

Alfred Russel Wallace, 1823-1913
Land nationalization
London, Trübner, 1882. 

By the late 1870's Wallace, a socialist, concluded that abuses in the British land-tenure system springing from the use of land for speculative purposes or as a source of income would be ended if all land was be nationalized and leased on a tenant basis. 

Alfred Russel Wallace, 1823-1913
My life
New York, Dodd Mead, 1905.

Wallace's expansive two-volume autobiography was the work of a man whose strongly-expressed opinions encompassed natural selection, spiritualism, socialism, and the centrality of Earth to life in the Universe. Wallace commented of a review of the book: "he praises my biology up to the skies - there I am wise - everywhere else I am a kind of weak, babyish idiot!" 

Thomas Henry Huxley, 1825-95
Evidence as to man's place in nature
London, Norgate, 1863.

Huxley was Darwin's most vital polemical supporter in the British scientific community. He is celebrated for his humiliation of Bishop Wilberforce of Oxford (who slighted the concept of man's relationship to other primates) at the 1860 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Evidence as to man's place in nature contains the text of lectures on the comparative anatomy of man and the higher apes delivered between 1859 and 1862. 

Sir Francis Galton, 1822-1911
Hereditary Genius
London, Macmillan, 1869.

Among those converted by On the origin of species was Darwin's first cousin, Francis Galton. Galton was convinced by observation of his own family that genius can be hereditary (Darwin's grandfathers were Erasmus Darwin - also Galton's grandfather - and the master potter Josiah Wedgwood). He devoted the next 45 years to statistical studies aimed at proving the heritability of genius. 

Sir Francis Galton, 1822-1911
Natural inheritance
London, Macmillan, 1889.

Galton's study of heredity (for which he coined the term "eugenics") led to his belief that the human race might be improved by selective breeding of better stock, controlling "inferior" offspring. The 80 years since Galton's death have witnessed extensive abuse of his theories for racial ends and aspects of eugenics are now regarded with extreme suspicion. This copy of Natural inheritance formerly belonged to the British economist John Maynard Keynes (1883 -1946). 

Karl Pearson, 1857-1936
The life, letters and labours of Francis Galton
Cambridge, University Press, 1914-1930.

Pearson's monumental study of Galton's life. Pearson, a mathematician and biologist, was a pioneer in the study of statistical human morphology and founder of the journal Biometrika. Pearson's work includes the fascinating scientific detective study which enabled him to identify a battered, mummified skull with certainty as the severed head of the English Protector, Oliver Cromwell.

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Updated 23 June 1999 by the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.
Copyright © 1999, the University of South Carolina.