Today, April 17th, marks the release of over 20,000 items of Darwin’s private papers, notes, photos, figures, etc. through Darwin Online:
For decades available only to scholars at Cambridge University Library, the private papers of Charles Darwin, one of the most influential scientists in history, can now be seen by anyone online and free of charge. This is the largest ever publication of Darwin papers and manuscripts, totaling about 20,000 items in nearly 90,000 electronic images. This vast and varied collection of papers includes the first draft of his theory of evolution, notes from the voyage of the Beagle and Emma Darwin’s recipe book.
You can read about the history of this material, see selections of the material, and see how it is organized here, and browse all of it here. Media coverage from Telegraph, Guardian (here also), Daily Mail, the BBC, the CBC, and the New Humanist Blog (also, Darwin’s Treasure Trove). Now one does not need to travel to Cambridge for Darwin research. Says John van Wyhe, historian of science in charge of Darwin Online and author of a few forthcoming Darwin titles, “I think we might be on the verge of a new revolution in the study and appreciation of the work of Charles Darwin.”