• Fine Printed Books and Manuscr auction at Christies

    Sale 2227

    Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana

    4 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 175

    DARWIN, Charles (1809-1882). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. London: W. Clowes and Sons for John Murray, 1859.

    Price Realised  


    DARWIN, Charles (1809-1882). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. London: W. Clowes and Sons for John Murray, 1859.
    12o (198 x 123 mm). Folding lithographed diagram. (Some scattered foxing.) Original publisher's blindstamped green cloth, spine gilt-decorated (hinges cracked, minor wear at extremities, two small stains on rear cover, some staining to endpapers).

    Provenance: HENRI MILNE-EDWARDS (1800-1885), French zoologist, Professor of entymology at the Muséum d'histoire naturelle, Paris (signature "Milne" on title, presentation inscription "From the Author" [secretarial hand] on the front free endpaper verso, docketed at foot "Rec'd 12th Nov. 1859"); Charles Sillem (signature dated 6 February 1913 on half-title).

    PRESENTATION COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION "OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL SCIENTIFIC WORK OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY" (Grolier/Horblit). Freeman binding variant A and with ads dated June 1859. In this revolutionary statement of his concept of the evolution of species "Darwin not only drew an entirely new picture of the workings of organic nature; he revolutionized our methods of thinking and our outlook on the natural order of things. The recognition that constant change is the order of the universe had been finally established and a vast step forward in the uniformity of nature had been taken" (PMM).

    A FINE ASSOCIATION COPY, presented by Darwin to the French naturalist Henri Milne-Edwards. In a letter to Jean Louis Armand de Quatrefabes de Bréu of 21 January 1860, Darwin wrote: "How I should like to know whether Milne Edwards has read the copy which I sent him & whether he thinks I have made a pretty good case on our side of the question. There is no naturalist in the world for whose opinion, I have so profound a respect. Of course I am not so silly as to expect to change his opinion." Darwin had corresponded with Mile-Edwards about crustacean embryology and development while composing his monograph on Cirripedia. As a token of his esteem, he dedicated Living Cirripedia to him (published 1854). Milne-Edwards praised certain aspect of the work, but was critical of Darwin's attempt to explain all species change on the basis of natural selection. (See The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8, p.44). Using Darwin's correspondence, the editors of his letters identified 45 recipients of either the first or second edition of Origin.

    Presentation copies of the first edition of the Origin are VERY RARE. Freeman states that 23 presentation copies are recorded, "but there were probably more" as determined by the editors of the Correspondence. These copies all bear secretarial inscriptions and were sent at Darwin's request to his friends and colleagues by the publisher. "There are no known author's presentation copies of the first edition inscribed in Darwin's hand" (Norman). This is registed with the Darwin Census as number 10039. Dibner Heralds of Science 199; Freeman 373; Garrison-Morton 220; Grolier/Horblit 23b; Norman 593; PMM 344b.

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