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Darwin Manuscripts : Presentation album of photographs of scientists from the Netherlands (sent to Charles Darwin in 1877)

Darwin Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Charles Darwin received the photograph album for his birthday on 12 February 1877 from his scientific admirers in the Netherlands. It had been proposed by Hermanus Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen, the translator of Darwin’s works <i>Descent of man</i> and <i>Expression of the emotions in man and animals</i>, together with Christiaan Karel Hoffmann and Pieter Harting, professors of zoology and comparative anatomy at Leiden and Utrecht universities respectively. The council of the Nederlandsche Dierkundige Vereeniging (Dutch Zoological Society) was chosen to co-ordinate the initiative, and a letter was circulated to potential contributors (Heide 2009, pp. 114–15). The Dutch album was sent to Darwin by the president and secretary of the society, Adriaan Anthoni van Bemmelen and Huibert Johannes Veth. It was luxuriously bound in red velvet with silver embossing. The frontispiece contains a mistake about Darwin’s age: it states his ‘69th Birthday’, when in fact he was 68 in 1877. The contributors were apothecaries, merchants, high-school teachers, and artists, as well as scientific and medical professionals. The album was arranged in alphabetical order, and the photographs were all equal in size, being small cartes de visite, displayed four to a page. Accompanying the album was a handwritten list of the 217 people included, with their professional title or occupation. The pictures were removed from the album at some point in its history and the fronts and backs are displayed here on black pages in the configurations that they would have appeared in the album. Sample pages from the empty album are also included.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Key to abbreviations of professional titles:<br /><ul><li>Phil. nat. doct: PhD (natural philosophy or natural science);</li><li>Phil. nat. stud.: student of natural philosophy or natural science;</li><li>Phil. nat. cand.: Bachelor degree or B. Sc.;</li><li>Jur. utr. doct: PhD in civil and canon law;</li><li>Math. mag. phil. nat.: M.Sc in mathematics and natural philosophy;</li><li>‘Natura Artis Magistra’: ‘Nature is the teacher of art’ (motto of the Amsterdam Zoological Society and Garden).</li></ul></p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Further information:<br /><br /> Heide, Janneke van der. 2009. <i>Darwin en de strijd om de beschaving in Nederland, 1859–1909</i>. Amsterdam: Wereldbibliotheek.<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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