Survival by chance 2

Charles Darwin (1809–1882) and Francis Darwin (1848–1925)
Manuscript page of On the origin of species; ‘The battle of the fruits and vegetables’
ca 1858-9

Darwin worked at home drafting the original manuscript of On the origin of species, surrounded by his wife and children; he had ten, though only seven were alive at this date. From the beginning, Darwin was both a loving father and a keen scientific observer, watching closely the effects of inheritance in his own family. Many of the rare surviving hand-written pages of On the origin of species were kept, not for the sake of Darwin’s iconic work, but because he gave them to his children as scrap paper to scribble and draw on. This one, with its battling fruit and vegetable armies, was probably embellished by his son Francis who was eleven when Origin was published.

MS DAR 185.109, f. 6, r and v

Extended captions