DARWIN, Charles (1809-1882), On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. London: W. Clowes and Sons for John Murray, 1859.
8o in 12s (196 x 126 mm). Folding lithographic diagram. (Occasional faint spotting.) Original publisher's blindstamped green cloth, spine gilt-decorated, by Edmonds & Remnants with their ticket at lower corner of rear pastedown (Freeman binding variant a) and with advertisements dated June 1859 (Freeman variant 2), no priority established (hinges weak, slightly bumbed at corners and at ends of spine); cloth folding case. Provenance: G. Moore Esmeade (signature on half-title).
FIRST EDITION OF "THE MOST INFLUENTIAL SCIENTIFIC WORK OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY. Its publication aroused world-wide criticism and controversy, both religious and scientific" (Grolier/Horblit). The whole edition of 1250 copies was sold on the day of publication. Though the work was initially prompted by observations, made during his travels aboard the Beagle from 1831 to 1836, of the biology and geology of isolated islands, Darwin spent nearly 25 years after his return to England accumulating evidence and considering his theory before publishing. "Although the theory of evolution can be traced to the ancient Greek belief in the 'great chain of being,' Darwin's greatest achievement was to make this centuries-old 'underground' concept acceptable to the scientific community by cogently arguing for the existence of a viable mechanism -- natural selection -- by which new species evolve over vast periods of time. Darwin's influence on biology was fundamental and continues to be felt today" (Garrison-Morton). A generally fine, unsophisticated copy. Dibner Heralds of Science 199; Freeman 373; Garrison-Morton-Norman 220; Grolier/Horblit 23b; Grolier Medicine 70B; Norman 593; PMM 344b.
DARWIN, Charles. Autograph letter signed ("Ch. Darwin") to "My Dear Sir" [Jeffreis Wyman (1847-1874), American anatomist and ethnologist, professor at Harvard and colleague of Asa Gray.] Down, Beckenham, 22 May 1873. 2 pages, 8vo. Darwin thanks Wyman for a recent letter and notes that he looks forward to Wyman's upcoming address. "The pig case is capital; & you ought to persuade your informant to send an account with full particulars to Nature. With respect to the bird's nests, do you not think that the same spot might prove attractive to birds which had had no intercommunication: I have observed facts with male bumble-bees which cd be explained only on this principle." Darwin mentions that he has never met John Stuart Mill and envies Wyman's "privilege of having talked to him familiarly." His postscript remarks, "I am now at work & will be for a long time in vegetable physiology." Darwin had earlier written to Asa Gray about Wyman's report of black pigs in the Everglades. Darwin and Wyman were close friends and frequent correspondents; this letter does not appear in Some Letters from Charles Darwin to Jeffries Wyman (ed. Dupree) but is published in Correspondence of Charles Darwin, pp.212-213 (ed. Burkhardt and Smith). (2)