May 11, 2023 10:00 EST

Rare Books, Autographs & Maps

 
  Lot 15
 

15

DARWIN, CHARLES

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. London: John Murray, 1859. First edition, one of 1,250 copies printed. Publisher's green cloth, brown endpapers with the Edmonds & Remnants binders label on the rear paste-down (Freeman's variant b), in a later cloth clamshell case. 7 3/4 x 4 3/4 inches (20 x 12 cm); x, 502 pp., 32 pp. ads dated June, 1859 as usual (these are Freeman's variant 3, no priority assigned); the folding diagram at page 117 as usual. The binding has been carefully restored with a small loss at the head of the spine infilled with new cloth, and the headcap stiffened. There is some minor rubbing and soiling to the covers, and the spine is slightly darkened, with some loss of gilt, especially to the imprint at the foot. The text block has been tightened in the binding, and the hinges repaired at the gutter of the endpapers. The preliminary leaves in the first signature have been discreetly guarded; the title page has some very minor foxing. There is a neat repaired tear to the margin of page 7. The text has a number of small pencil lines in the margin but is generally clean. The bookplate of Richard Bayard Dominick is now loose and laid-in, with some adhesive remnant on the front free endpaper.

This was originally the copy owned by the great collector Quentin Keynes, Darwin's great-grandson, until it was exchanged with what was then the Dominick copy in March of 1970, as evidenced by Keynes's annotations in the family guest book from the time of this exchange of copies. The recipient, Richard Bayard Dominick, was himself an eminent naturalist, a lepidopterist who founded the Wedge Entomology Research Foundation, which still exists for the publication of books on the moths of North America. Its foremost publication is the Moths of North America series.
With the publication of the Origin of Species, Darwin at a single stroke created both a new science and a fresh paradigm of thought. His book was not a specialist treatise (though it had initially been conceived as such) but was aimed instead at the educated common reader. Finally, there was a theory that could explain the diversity of biological forms, one that had an elegance and simplicity of hypothesis that its various predecessors had lacked. Though its publication was not without controversy (the religious establishment in particular reacted strongly against it, culminating in the Oxford debates of 1860), Darwin was already a scientist of high repute, and so his theories were generally well received. Despite this, evolution as such had a far broader immediate acceptance than the concept of natural selection, though this would in due course become a key 20th century concept in the life sciences and beyond.
Darwin was not wholly alone in the gestation of the theory. Sir Charles Lyell, with whom he had discussed the ramifications, had been an encouragement. Alfred Russell Wallace had independently reached many of the same conclusions in his work, as Darwin learned with Wallace's letter of June 1858, and the two scientists had issued a joint paper on the subject at the Linnean Society on 1 July of that year. Russell wrote of the Origin (quoted here by Janet Browne) "It will live as long as the "Principia" of Newton ... Mr. Darwin has given the world a new science, and his name should in my opinion, stand above that of every philosopher of ancient and modern times. The force of admiration can no further go!!!" Modern opinion of Darwin is little different; by any reasonable accounting, this is arguably the single most important publication in the history of science, and a turning point in the history of ideas as well, one that is fundamental to the modern world-view.

As the great biologist E. O. Wilson wrote "No work of science has ever been so fully vindicated by subsequent investigation, or has so profoundly altered humanity's view of itself and how the living world works" from Wilson, E.O. 'Foreword', The Cambridge Companion to the 'Origin of Species' Cambridge: 2009. Dibner Heralds (1980) 199; Eimas Heirs 1724; Freeman 373; Garrison-Morton (1991) 220; Grolier English 96; Grolier Science 23b; Norman 593; PMM 344b; Sparrow Milestones 49; Waller 10786 etc.

Provenance:

Quentin Keynes (Charles Darwin's great-grandson); by exchange given to Richard Bayard Dominick (the exchange is thoroughly documented by Keynes's notes in the guest book and by contemporary photographs, both accompanying this lot); thence by family descent to the present owner.


 

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. London: John Murray, 1859. First edition, one of 1,250 copies printed. Publisher's green cloth, brown endpapers with the Edmonds & Remnants binders label on the rear paste-down (Freeman's variant b), in a later cloth clamshell case. 7 3/4 x 4 3/4 inches (20 x 12 cm); x, 502 pp., 32 pp. ads dated June, 1859 as usual (these are Freeman's variant 3, no priority assigned); the folding diagram at page 117 as usual. The binding has been carefully restored with a small loss at the head of the spine infilled with new cloth, and the headcap stiffened. There is some minor rubbing and soiling to the covers, and the spine is slightly darkened, with some loss of gilt, especially to the imprint at the foot. The text block has been tightened in the binding, and the hinges repaired at the gutter of the endpapers. The preliminary leaves in the first signature have been discreetly guarded; the title page has some very minor foxing. There is a neat repaired tear to the margin of page 7. The text has a number of small pencil lines in the margin but is generally clean. The bookplate of Richard Bayard Dominick is now loose and laid-in, with some adhesive remnant on the front free endpaper.

This was originally the copy owned by the great collector Quentin Keynes, Darwin's great-grandson, until it was exchanged with what was then the Dominick copy in March of 1970, as evidenced by Keynes's annotations in the family guest book from the time of this exchange of copies. The recipient, Richard Bayard Dominick, was himself an eminent naturalist, a lepidopterist who founded the Wedge Entomology Research Foundation, which still exists for the publication of books on the moths of North America. Its foremost publication is the Moths of North America series.
With the publication of the Origin of Species, Darwin at a single stroke created both a new science and a fresh paradigm of thought. His book was not a specialist treatise (though it had initially been conceived as such) but was aimed instead at the educated common reader. Finally, there was a theory that could explain the diversity of biological forms, one that had an elegance and simplicity of hypothesis that its various predecessors had lacked. Though its publication was not without controversy (the religious establishment in particular reacted strongly against it, culminating in the Oxford debates of 1860), Darwin was already a scientist of high repute, and so his theories were generally well received. Despite this, evolution as such had a far broader immediate acceptance than the concept of natural selection, though this would in due course become a key 20th century concept in the life sciences and beyond.
Darwin was not wholly alone in the gestation of the theory. Sir Charles Lyell, with whom he had discussed the ramifications, had been an encouragement. Alfred Russell Wallace had independently reached many of the same conclusions in his work, as Darwin learned with Wallace's letter of June 1858, and the two scientists had issued a joint paper on the subject at the Linnean Society on 1 July of that year. Russell wrote of the Origin (quoted here by Janet Browne) "It will live as long as the "Principia" of Newton ... Mr. Darwin has given the world a new science, and his name should in my opinion, stand above that of every philosopher of ancient and modern times. The force of admiration can no further go!!!" Modern opinion of Darwin is little different; by any reasonable accounting, this is arguably the single most important publication in the history of science, and a turning point in the history of ideas as well, one that is fundamental to the modern world-view.

As the great biologist E. O. Wilson wrote "No work of science has ever been so fully vindicated by subsequent investigation, or has so profoundly altered humanity's view of itself and how the living world works" from Wilson, E.O. 'Foreword', The Cambridge Companion to the 'Origin of Species' Cambridge: 2009. Dibner Heralds (1980) 199; Eimas Heirs 1724; Freeman 373; Garrison-Morton (1991) 220; Grolier English 96; Grolier Science 23b; Norman 593; PMM 344b; Sparrow Milestones 49; Waller 10786 etc.

Provenance:

Quentin Keynes (Charles Darwin's great-grandson); by exchange given to Richard Bayard Dominick (the exchange is thoroughly documented by Keynes's notes in the guest book and by contemporary photographs, both accompanying this lot); thence by family descent to the present owner.

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