Happy Darwin Day 2014! main content.

Happy Darwin Day 2014!

by AMNH on

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Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin! The English naturalist was born February 12, 1809, and five decades later he published On the Origin of Species. Prompted by an article by Alfred Russel Wallace published in 1858, Darwin's book introduced readers to an idea that would revolutionize human life as we understand it: the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Iconic photo of Charles Darwin, showing him wearing a coat and a long, white beard.
Richard Milner Archive

Here are a few spots around our site to learn more about Darwin's life, scientific pursuits, and the continued influence of the theory of evolution by natural selection.


The Museum's blockbuster exhibition on Darwin, open in New York in 2005 and 2006 and now traveling, is full of information about Darwin's childhood, marriage, life, and his ideas. Read more starting here.

Darwin portrait boy
One of six children, young Darwin is painted here with his sister Catherine.
Darwin Heirloom's Trust  © English Heritage Photo Library

Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection has long provoked controversy; read the timeline for more about the history of the idea, from the Darwin exhibition.

Darwin Manuscripts Project

The Darwin Manuscripts Project is housed at the Museum, and has so far digitized more than 16,000 pages of Darwin's scientific writings.

Experiment Book Darwin
In this notebook from 1855 to 1857, Darwin tracked horticultural, biological, and other types of experiments.

The writings include notes, notebooks, marginalia, article drafts, and drafts of books, including a page from the manuscript of On the Origin of Species.

Museum Origin of Species
The Museum houses one of 36 known leaves of the original manuscript of Darwin's On the Origin of Species.
AMNH Library Rare Books Collection, RF-18-H

Alfred Russel Wallace

In November 2013, the Museum hosted a celebration of the life of Alfred Russel Wallace, the English naturalist who also published about natural selection in the 1850s and prompted Darwin to do so. Learn more about Wallace in a podcast of a talk by Sir David Attenborough on a passion he shared with Wallace: the Birds of Paradise.

You can also learn more about Wallace's life and work in this New York Times video, shown at the Museum last fall.