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Picture Researcher Resource: Charles Darwin’s personal library is now online

Darwin Online says: ‘Charles Darwin’s vast personal library, which he used to create his world-changing scientific works, was gradually dispersed after his death in 1882. Many of the scientific works were preserved and catalogued but many items went different ways. Some were lost and details of the majority of the contents were never published – until now. Thus, for many years scholars have referred to Darwin’s library as containing 1,480 books because that is how many are known to survive in the two main collections, the University of Cambridge and Down House. We can now reveal that this is only 15% of the printed items in Darwin’s Library during his lifetime.’

‘Darwin’s library was so vast that our list of its titles is 300 pages long. But this is far, far more than a catalogue. In addition to combining clues from scattered sources and piecing together thousands of fragmentary references, we have also digitised thousands of them and painstakingly provided 9,600 links to electronic copies of the works. Of these, 5,050 are in Darwin Online including 856 transcribed texts and 4,500 are links to internet copies of publications.’

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