Charles Darwin’s Son Draws Cute Pictures on the Manuscript of On the Origin of Species

Most of us can iden­ti­fy Charles Dar­win as the father of mod­ern evo­lu­tion­ary biol­o­gy, but were you aware that he also fathered ten chil­dren with his cousin, Emma Wedg­wood?

As dad­dies go, Dar­win was quite evolved him­self, dis­play­ing a 21st-cen­tu­ry lev­el of devo­tion to and involve­ment with his young. He even went so far as to let one of his kids draw on the orig­i­nal man­u­script for On the Ori­gin of Species. Sav­ing paper was as good for the envi­ron­ment in the mid-1800s as it is today, but his will­ing­ness to let his pre­cious pages do dou­ble duty may explain why the sem­i­nal doc­u­ment sur­vives as mere piece­meal today.

Maybe Charles and Emma read some arti­cle that sug­gest­ed their house­hold would run more smooth­ly if it were bet­ter orga­nized, and lack­ing such mod­ern solu­tions as col­or­ful Ikea stor­age bins and scan­ners, sim­ply pitched all but the absolute best of their chil­dren’s art­work. (Or maybe their youngest was a scrunch­er, destroy­ing pages by the fist­ful.)


It seems a good bet young Fran­cis Dar­win’s water­col­or of birds, bugs and a but­ter­fly con­verg­ing on a trio of botan­i­cal­ly viable flow­ers (above) would’ve done his nat­u­ral­ist papa proud.

I can also state with near-sci­en­tif­ic cer­tain­ty that if the Dar­wins had had a refrig­er­a­tor, The Bat­tle of the Fruit and Veg­etable Sol­diers (top) would have been on it. Today, Fran­cis’ masterpiece—and its flipside—reside in the Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty Library.

via The Tele­graph

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Dar­win, a 1993 Film by Peter Green­away

Read the Orig­i­nal Let­ters Where Charles Dar­win Worked Out His The­o­ry of Evo­lu­tion

The Genius of Charles Dar­win Revealed in Three-Part Series by Richard Dawkins

Darwin’s Per­son­al Library Goes Dig­i­tal: 330 Books Online

Darwin’s Lega­cy, a Stan­ford course in our col­lec­tion of 750 Free Online Cours­es

Ayun Hal­l­i­day remem­bers her grand­moth­er was very impressed by her abil­i­ty to  draw Huck­le­ber­ry Finn with his legs crossed. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.