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Charles Darwin's Kids Drew All Over His On the Origin of Species Manuscript

Charles Darwin had ten children, and at least three of them were young artists during the time Darwin was writing his 1859 book On the Origin of Species. They saw dad's project as a source of paper for their drawings and paintings! Of Darwin's first manuscript, only 45 out of 600 pages still exist. They are in the process of being digitized for posterity, and they have yielded dozens of the children's artworks. More than just scribbles, they are historic marginalia worthy of preservation.    

The drawings, made with pencil, ink, and watercolor, are playful and often humorous, although they reflect Dad’s talent for recording details, whether it be the multicolored wings of a butterfly or the pattern on a highlander’s kilt. Indeed, several of the drawings are more military-concerned and show battles or soldier’s portraits. Others show the children’s fluency with the natural world: bees buzz around flowers and a variety of animals are shown in profile and face-forward. Apparently, Darwin also recruited his kids for basic research including collecting various specimens and encouraged them to make their own observations.

See more of the drawings here. -via Everlasting Blort

(Image credit: American Museum of Natural History and Cambridge University Library)


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