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Antique Book Collection David Wooten

Charles Darwin Book Collection


"We are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with truth as far as our reason permits us to discover it.​"  ~Charles Darwin

Like many biologists, I have an interest in the history of our discipline and the individuals that were keystone in it's development.  My book collecting interests started with antiquarian biology and zoology textbooks that had unique and exquisite imagery, as well as any that had historical significance in the field.  Naturally, it was only a matter of time before I started collecting publications by or related to the evolutionary theory of Charles Darwin.  Since that time, I have researched and referenced Darwins publications, his autobiography and life & letters, numerous reference books and biographies and related history.  The goal was to identify and find those publications that Darwin himself noted as being pivotal in providing insights to ultimately form his theory of evolution by natural selection.  To the best of my knowledge, this collection is a rare and unique assemblage of books dating from pre-Darwinian times with the works of Buffon and Lamarck, to grade school books that inspired Darwin to travel and develop an interest in natural history, to those during his professsional lifetime that he recognized as significant and influential to his work.  The collection is now over 100 books and includes books read by Darwin on geology, botany, natural history, anatomy, literature, poetry, politics, religion, and history.  Most of the books in this collection are early or first editions and published within Darwin's lifetime (1809-1882).


Darwin: Books, Beetles, and Botany is a lecture designed to explore the bibliographic history of Charles Darwin and tell this extraordinary story through the use and display of rare books actually published by the authors during this time in history.

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