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Guide to the Charles Darwin / Evolution Collection
Mss 28  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • History / Biography
  • Scope and Content Notes
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Charles Darwin / Evolution Collection
    Dates: ca. 1786-1968
    Bulk Dates: 1840s-1920s
    Collection number: Mss 28
    Creator: Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882
    Extent: 5.8 linear feet (10 document boxes and 1 oversize box)
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Dept. of Special Collections.
    Santa Barbara, California 93106-9010
    Abstract: The collection contains printed and manuscript materials, photo albums, correspondences, pamphlets, diaries, and various ephemera by and relating to Charles Darwin and others interested in natural history and the theory of evolution. Includes material by Bernard Darwin, Francis Darwin, Thomas Henry Huxley, Julian Huxley, John Stuart Mill, and Marie Stopes among others.
    Physical location: Del Sur (Boxes 1-10) and Del Sur Oversize (Box 11).
    Language: English

    Access Restrictions


    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    Charles Darwin / Evolution Collection. Mss 28. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Purchase from London bookseller, Peter Eaton, 1968.

    History / Biography

    Short biographical sketches are provided for some of the key figures represented in the collection.
    Charles Robert Darwin was born on February 12, 1809 in Shrewsbury, England. His father, Robert Waring Darwin (1766-1848), was a physician, the son of Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), a poet, philosopher, and naturalist. Robert established a successful medical practice in Shrewsbury where he was known for his kindness extended to the poor. He was financially quite successful and willing to support his sons in their various endeavors. Although not a prolific writer, he was elected to the Royal Society in 1788. Charles' mother, Susannah Wedgwood Darwin (1765-1817), was the daughter of Josiah Wedgwood, one of the founders of the Wedgwood pottery works and a supporter of the movement to abolish slavery in the British Empire. She died when Charles Darwin was eight years old.
    At age sixteen, Darwin left Shrewsbury to study medicine at Edinburgh University. Repelled by the sight of surgery performed without anesthesia, he eventually went to Cambridge University to prepare to become a clergyman in the Church of England. After receiving his degree, Darwin accepted an invitation to serve as an unpaid naturalist on the H.M.S. Beagle, which departed on a five-year scientific expedition to the Pacific coast of South America on December 31, 1831.
    Darwin's research resulting from this voyage formed the basis of his famous book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Published in 1859, the work aroused a storm of controversy. Here Darwin outlined his theory of evolution, challenging the contemporary beliefs about the creation of life on earth. Later works included The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871), The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals (1872), and many others. Darwin continued to write and publish his works on biology throughout his life. He lived with his wife and eight children at their home in the village of Downe, fifteen miles from London. Several of his children achieved great distinction of their own: George Howard Darwin (1845-1912), as a geologist and astronomer, Francis Darwin (1848-1925), as a botanist, and Leonard Darwin (1850-1943), as an economist. Charles Darwin died after a long illness on April 19, 1882, and is buried in Westminster Abbey.
    A number of Darwin descendants are represented in the collection. Francis Darwin, Charles' third son, also was a botanist and naturalist. Although trained as a physician, he never practiced medicine. Early in his career, he worked as a research assistant for his father. He pursued an academic career at Cambridge where he was a Fellow of Christ's College and University Lecturer in Botany. He was appointed Reader in 1888 and retired in 1904. He published a number of works on botany and is perhaps best remembered for his editing of the basic biographies of his father: Life and Letters (3 v., 1887) and More Letters (2 v., 1903). Bernard Darwin (1876-1961), the son of Francis, was a writer with a special emphasis and interest in sports, particularly golf, which he covered for The Times (in London) and Country Life. He also contributed the introduction for the first edition of The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (1941) and with his wife authored a number of children's books, being particularly noted for the Tootleoo series.
    The collection also contains material related to the Huxley family. Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895), was a biologist, zoologist, philosopher, and teacher. He was a staunch defender of Darwin and sometimes was referred to as "Darwin's Bulldog". Huxley had an important impact on the intellectual currents of the times through his writings on science, philosophy, religion and politics. Among his many works are: Evidence on Man's Place in Nature, a comprehensive review of what was known at the time about primate and human paleontology and ethnology, published in 1863, only five years after Darwin's Origin of Species, and Ethics and Evolution (1893). Huxley is credited with the invention of the term 'agnosticism' to describe his philosophical position: it expresses his attitude toward certain traditional questions without giving any clear delimitation of the frontiers of knowledge. In works such as Ethics and Evolution, moral order is contrasted with the cosmic order. Evolution shows signs of constant struggle, but rather than looking to it for moral guidance, he rejected "the gladiatorial theory of existence."
    Julian Sorell Huxley (1887-1975), grandson of Thomas Henry, and brother of the writer Aldous was a biologist, writer, and teacher who achieved renown both as a scientist and for his ability to make scientific concepts clear to the public through his writings. Julian Huxley was born in London and educated at Balliol College, University of Oxford. He was one of the most highly visible scientists of the mid-twentieth century, popular as a radio and television panelist and as a lecturer. Like his grandfather, he was particularly interested in concepts of evolution and growth, dealing with them in the light of the philosophic problems generated by contemporary scientific developments. In his Religion without Revelation (1927), he suggested that humans could find an outlet for their religious zeal in contemplation of their own destiny, rather than in theistic creeds. In Evolution: The Modern Synthesis (1942), he made important connections between evolution and genetics.
    A final group of manuscripts in the collection pertains to the work of the anthropologist Sir Edward Burnett Tylor (1832-1917). Tylor was most interested in tracing the evolutionary process in the areas of social customs and beliefs. He was a fervent Darwinian with an infinite respect for facts. Although based at Oxford, where he was professor of anthropology and keeper of the university museum, he and his wife Anna Tylor traveled extensively both for his health and his research. Their Quaker background is reflected in their concern for the impact of evolutionary thought upon religion. The collection includes correspondence between him and his wife and his brother Alfred Tylor, a geologist. Alfred's son, Joseph John Tylor, an engineer and Egyptologist, and daughter, Juliet Tylor are among other Tylor family members represented.

    Scope and Content Notes

    The collection was purchased from London bookseller Peter Eaton, who had accumulated the materials from various sources, including Julian Huxley's private library. Eaton provided several detailed lists of contents, copies of which have been included in the collection.
    The collection contains six series relating to Charles Darwin and others interested in the theory of evolution:
    • Series I: Tylor Family (Boxes 1-3). Contains two subseries, the first of which is Books, described in the Eaton list "Diaries and Letters Belonging to Sir Edward and Lady Tylor" [copy in Box 1]. Includes diaries of Anna Tylor, wife of Edward Burnett Tylor, noted Oxford anthropologist and Darwinian. Also books of extracts and photo albums. The second subseries is Tylor Family Papers, described in the Eaton list: "Sir Edward Burnett Tylor, F.R.S. and Alfred Tylor: Manuscript Material and Letters"), which mainly contains correspondence among the various family members.
    • Series II: Manuscripts, Letters, and Ephemera (Boxes 4-6). Arranged alphabetically by surname of author/correspondent; described in the Eaton list of the same title [copy in Box 4]. Also contains some unlisted items apparently laid in books acquired as part of the collection; quotes are from the Eaton list. Includes material by Bernard Darwin, Charles Darwin, Francis Darwin, Thomas Henry Huxley, John Stuart Mill, Richard Owen, Herbert Spencer, and Marie Stopes.
    • Series III: Pamphlets and Other Uncataloged Printed Ephemera (Box 7). Arranged alphabetically by surname of author or by title, mainly uncataloged items from the printed portion of the collection. Includes material by Charles Darwin and Robert Waring Darwin.
    • Series IV: Julian Huxley Papers (Boxes 8-9). Includes manuscripts and articles by Julian Huxley, as well as his personal copies of writings by others, many inscribed to Huxley or with notes by him. Described in the Eaton list: "Sir Julian Huxley, F.R.S." [copy in Box 8].
    • Series V: Miscellany (Box 10). Includes extract book, newspaper clippings, material on the Darwin Centennial.
    • Series VI: Oversize Materials (Box 11). Engravings, including Charles Darwin, Thomas Henry Huxley, Herbert Spencer, and John Tyndall.
    An article by Sherrill Mann and D. E. Fitch, "Darwin and Evolution" describes the collection in further detail and was published in the UCSB Libraries journal Soundings (Nov. 1969). A copy is filed, along with the guide, at the front of Box 1, in the collection.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882.
    Darwin, Francis, Sir, 1848-1925.
    Darwin, Bernard, 1876-1961.
    Huxley, Thomas Henry, 1825-1895.
    Huxley, Julian, 1887-1975.
    Tylor, Edward Burnett, Sir, 1832-1917.
    Tylor, Alfred, 1824-1884.
    Tylor, Anna.
    Tylor, Joseph John, 1851-1901.
    Beddard, Frank E. (Frank Evers), 1858-1925.
    Natural history.
    Evolution (Biology)
    Religion and science.
    Evolution--Religious aspects.

    Related Material

    Related Material at UCSB:
    • The manuscript materials listed in this guide are part of a much larger printed collection which includes several hundred volumes of rare first and early editions of Charles Darwin's works and others supporting or opposing theories of evolution and related issues. These have been cataloged separately and can be searched in Pegasus, the UCSB online catalog.
    Related Material at Other Institutions:
    • The Darwin Papers. Microfilm, from Research Publications International.
    • Huntington Library. Works of Charles Darwin, his contemporaries and followers. More than 1500 volumes, donated by Warren D. Mohr.
    • University of Virginia. Papers relating to the history of the theory of evolution, 1771-1921; 153 items (author listed as Charles Darwin). Chiefly correspondence by or about men who contributed to the development of the theory of evolution.
    • American Museum of Natural History. The AMNH Darwin Manuscripts Project: http://darwin.amnh.org/ 
    Websites related to Darwin / Evolution: