Charles Darwin and African American | Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution by natural selection

Charles Darwin and African American

Iowa State University Library Special Collections Department Blog

Charles Darwin: Traveling Exhibit and Related Rare Books

Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences recently announced a traveling exhibit, Rewriting the Book of Nature, now open in the Molecular Biology Building (open to the public until October 29). The exhibit commemorates Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday (he was born February 12, 1809) and the 150th anniversary of the publication On the Origin of Species (first published in London on November 24, 1859). If you are still interested in learning more after viewing the exhibit, the Special Collections Department has a variety of options a short block away on the fourth floor of Parks Library!

Our early second edition of On the Origin of Species by means of natural selection, or, The preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life (call number QH365 .D259o)

We hold the “second edition” of On the Origin of Species (the entire title is: On the Origin of Species by means of natural selection, or, The preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life). The identification and differences between the second and first editions are . Basically, the first printing of the book sold rapidly, and the publisher had to quickly prepare for another printing, but made some small changes before doing so. These editions are often confused, and one can see that that was the case with our copy since “first edition” has been carefully written on the flyleaf. One of the fun aspects of a rare book is the evidence of a book’s history in the notations often left behind by previous owners.

Title page of our early edition. One way to tell that this is a very early edition is that there are only two quotations on the page to the left. Later editions had three (see below).

The Special Collections Department holds several editions and copies of On the Origin of Species (call numbers can be found by searching here). For instance, we have an edition printed here in the United States dated 1860. As with all rare books, this particular book holds its own history and provenance which is often impossible to fully determine. The first flyleaf contains several iterations of “John C. Dalton, 499 W. Huron St.” Was the person trying to remember Dalton’s address? Who was this person (one of the owners at one time was a James E. Gross)? Who was John C. Dalton?

Title page of the second edition described above.

A John Call Dalton happens to have worked in the sciences in the area of experimental physiology in New York City. 499 W. Huron Street in New York City is about 6-10 miles from the present locations of where he worked (College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Long Island College Hospital) when this second edition of On the Origin of Species was published. Maybe this was the John C. Dalton, or maybe someone completely different (6-10 miles is a rather long way away from 499 W. Huron!). Who knows? Just one more example of the mysteries each rare book, or any book more than a few decades old, holds.

John C. Dalton’s name and address can be seen written numerous times above.

In addition to the most famous of Darwin’s works, we also hold other publications by Darwin. These can be found by searching the library’s records (the search system can be found on the library’s e-Library).

The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication (the two orange volumes) and the American edition of On the Origin of Species (pictured on top).




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FAQ

Brea
What are some interesting/strange facts about Charles Darwin?

Charles Rober Darwin, the naturalist, was made famous in scientific communities for his work in Geology following publication of his work after his five year journey aboard the Beagle.
He is one of only five non-royals to be honored with a state funeral and buried at Westminster Abbey.

Girl Power
Does anyone know any "really" interesting facts about charles darwin?

I'm doing a project on Charles Darwin, but i don't have any interesting facts, all my facts sound dull and i guess everyone else have that also , so.. please help, thanks ^^

Try looking up his biography in books---or at least sources that investigate his life in length. the shorter stuff only tells the basic details.

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