Darwin's Manuscripts

Engraving based on the photograph of Charles Darwin made by Julia Margaret Cameron in 1868
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Darwin Manuscripts Project: the Scientific Papers of Charles Darwin

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Links: Catalogue of Darwin Manuscripts

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Updated Bulletin: A Message From Edinburgh University Library About Charles Lyell

Charles Darwin's surviving 46,032 pages of scientific manuscripts—his original notes, notebooks, and drafts—contain the crucial documentary evidence for the birth and maturation of his theory of evolution by means of natural selection. We currently offer digital access to all of the 34,643 folios that deal directly with the theory of evolution. The site contains all Darwin’s botany and zoology manuscripts and embraces all those on human evolution. We are now working to digitize and edit the remaining documents, which deal primarily with the Beagle voyage and geology.

The Darwin Manuscripts Project (DMP) is the only site to publish high-resolution color images and insists on only publishing transcriptions of Darwin’s difficult handwriting that are rendered to the high standards of modern textual editing. The Darwin Manuscripts Project is based in the Research Library of the American Museum of Natural History. We gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of Cambridge University Library, Down House—Darwin’s former home—and the other public and private collections that hold the original documents.

Charles Darwin by George Richmond, pencil 1839 Cambridge University Library
Charles Darwin by George Richmond, pencil 1839 Cambridge University Library

DMP is focused exclusively on the surviving record of Darwin's life work as a practicing scientist. We intend to be accessible to all who want to trace Darwin’s intellectual development as a theorist, observer, and experimenter. The key to understanding this science-focused collection is to realize that Darwin organized his rough manuscripts into large thematic portfolios. It was from these amassed materials that he shaped his published work, which include On the Origin of Species and fifteen other books. The DMP edition mirrors the underlying portfolios and thus reflects Darwin’s papers as he left them upon his death in April 1882.

David Kohn | [email protected]

With Support Of:

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