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The Darwin Correspondence Project and Pedagogy

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  1. I am indebted to Katharine Anderson for this important point.

  2. Correspondence of Charles Darwin, eds. Frederick H. Burkhardt, James A. Secord, and The Editors of the Darwin Correspondence Project (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), vols. 1–30, 1985–2023.

  3. In the rest of the chapter, Nickerson explores the tensions that existed between Darwin and Murray throughout their working relationship due to Murray’s objections to Darwin’s naturalistic worldview.

  4. For more on Darwin as a popularizer of evolution see Lightman (2010).

  5. For our purposes, the letters helped us in our attempt make the cultural history of modern science the focus of a liberal arts course. But the letters can easily be used to enrich science pedagogy. The Darwin Correspondence Project website, for example, contains an interesting discussion of the use of Darwin’s letters in a freshman seminar for future science majors at Harvard University. See:

  6. Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 729,” accessed on 27 February 2022,

  7. Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1425,” accessed on 27 February 2022,

  8. The classic piece is Jim Moore’s brilliant “Of Love and Death: Why Darwin ‘Gave Up Christianity’” (Moore 1989).

  9. Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2285,” accessed on 27 February 2022,

  10. Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2611,” accessed on 27 February 2022,

  11. I am grateful to Meira Gold for her suggestions on this point.

  12. Epsilon. Explore 19th c. scientific correspondence. Cambridge University.


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The author would like to express his gratitude to Katharine Anderson, Meira Gold, and Christine Luk, three colleagues who read earlier drafts of this piece and shared extremely helpful suggestions for revisions.

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Correspondence to Bernard Lightman.

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Lightman, B. The Darwin Correspondence Project and Pedagogy. J Hist Biol 55, 403–409 (2022).

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