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Darwin Manuscripts : Album of portrait photographs presented to Charles Darwin by German and Austrian ‘men of science’

Darwin Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>The album was sent to Charles Darwin to mark his birthday on 12 February 1877 by the civil servant Emil Rade, and contained 165 portraits of German and Austrian scientists. The work was lavishly produced and bound in blue velvet with metal embossing. Its ornate frontispiece was designed by the painter Arthur Fitger and dedicated: ‘Dem Reformator der Naturgeschichte Charles Darwin’ (to the reformer of natural history Charles Darwin). Most of the people in the album were faculty members of German and Austrian universities. They were arranged by institution and professional rank, with professors in larger portraits at the centre or the top of the page. Ernst Haeckel was given special prominence, with a full-page portrait at the front of the album. He also appeared at the centre of a group photograph of zoology students at Jena. Darwin’s age was miscalculated and the birthdate on the front cover is 1808 instead of 1809. The album was intended to commemorate his 69th birthday, the start of his 70th year, but Darwin was only 68 in 1877.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Further information:<br /><br /> Gries, Brunhild. 2006. Emil Rade (1832–1931), sein Anteil an der naturkundlichen Erforschung Westfalens und das Darwin-Album von 1877. <i>Abhandlungen aus dem Westfälischen Museum für Naturkunde</i> 68 (2): 1–93<br /><br /><a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>History of Down House, English Heritage website</a><br /><br /><a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>German and Dutch photograph albums, Darwin Correspondence Project website</a></p>

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