February 16, 2024

Charles Darwin’s Personal Library Goes Digital

The personal library of renowned British scientist, Charles Darwin, has been collated into a virtual catalogue, making it accessible to millions of people around the world for the first time ever.

Darwin is best known for his book, “On the Origin of Species”, which was published in 1859 and introduced the theory of evolution to the world.

Researchers and academics have spent nearly two decades carefully and painstakingly tracking down thousands of books, journals, pamphlets and articles that the British scientist had either created, referred to or even simply enjoyed.

The complete collection of his library reportedly features 7 400 titles and 13 000 volumes, all linked in a 300-page catalogue. Dr John van Wyhe, professor at the National University of Singapore Department of Biological Sciences, led the enormous endeavour.

“This unprecedentedly detailed view of Darwin’s complete library allows one to appreciate more than ever that he was not an isolated figure working alone, but an expert of his time building on the sophisticated science and studies and other knowledge of thousands of people,” Wyhe said in a statement to an American scientific journal.

This collection was published on Monday, 12 February, in honour of what would have been Darwin’s 215th birthday.

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