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Charles Darwin

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Charles Robert Darwin, 1809–1882.  English naturalist, geologist, and biologist.  Bold signature, Charles Darwin, on a 2¼” x 4½” card.

Darwin is best known for proposing the theory that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors.  In 1858, in jointly published papers, Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace theorized that evolution resulted from a process of natural selection.  In 1859, Darwin elaborated on the theory in On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection.  He set out his theory in the introduction to the book:

As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it  vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected.  From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form.

He concluded:

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

Although he alluded to it there, Darwin did not use the word “evolution” through the first five editions of the book.  His explanation of diversification in nature through evolutionary descent with modification led him to examine human evolution and sexual selection, and he first used the word “evolution” in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, which he published in 1871.  He then added it a year later to the sixth edition of On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection, which he considered the definitive edition.  His major works on species culminated with the publication in 1872 of The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.

This card is extremely nice.  It is bright and still has its original sheen.  It has scattered tiny spots, the largest of which is at the lower right, well removed from the signature.  Overall the card is in fine to very fine condition.

Unframed.  Click here for information about custom framing this piece.


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