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In the Stacks: Charles Darwin’s Library

Charles Darwin had close to 1500 books in his library. Now, thanks to the Biodiversity Heritage Library, one can digitally peruse over 400 of the books contained therein, including over 300 of the most heavily annotated.

 The library of Charles Darwin. Courtesy of Cambridge University Library

The Charles Darwin’s Library project is “a digital edition and virtual reconstruction of the surviving books owned by Charles Darwin.”

 “a miserable book – all words, words, words.” Annotation in Volume 1 of  Histoire naturelle générale des règnes organiques by Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, Isidore, 1854.

“The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a consortium of 12 natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make accessible the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available for open access and responsible use as a part of a global “biodiversity commons.”

“if this were true adios theory” Darwin’s annotation in Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology, v. 2 (1837).

A transcription pane accompanies each annotated page providing a detailed accounting of the annotation. There is also a comprehensive search feature that allows you to search the books in Darwin’s library as well as the annotations themselves.

 More:
Charles Darwin’s Personal Library Goes Public- National Endowment for the Humanities
Book of the Week: Celebrating Darwin’s Library! – BHL blog

The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online – the go-to online source for Darwin material

Previously on In the Stacks:
The National Archives

Private Libraries at the Museum of the City of New York

Boston Public Library

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