Darwin Online: The Complete Works of Charles Darwin

The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online

This site contains Darwin’s complete publications, thousands of handwritten manuscripts and the largest Darwin bibliography and manuscript catalogue ever published; [Click to enlarge] also hundreds of supplementary works: biographies, obituaries, reviews, reference works and more.

The site is described in more detail in Der Spiegel

The publication is the largest ever of the famed scientist’s personal papers, which for decades have been available only to scholars at Cambridge University. The archive contains nearly 90,000 images and 20,000 items, including sketches, field notes, manuscripts, drawings, letters and photographs.

Among the highlights of the trove are Darwin’s first draft of the theory of evolution, a pencil sketch of species theory, notes from the Beagle voyage, copious pages of jottings on sleep, expression, geology, plant reproduction, dust, and material for the first edition of his controversial treatise The Descent of Man, which attempts an evolutionary explanation of the human species.

But the collection also contains more personal correspondence, including a letter sent by Darwin after his daughter Annie died at age 10.

Darwin’s handwriting is not always easy to decypher

On occasion, beneath Darwin’s hard-to-decipher writing, his son Erasmus would help out, in notes like this: “He considers that the theory of evolution is quite compatible with the belief in a God,” he writes to a correspondent. “But … different persons have different definitions of what they mean by God.”