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    Darwin asks his son William to collect Utriculuria plant specimens

    Charles Darwin Autograph Letter Signed. One page with blank integral, 5" x 8", Down, Kent [England]; July 1, [circa late 1860s-early 1870s]. A letter from Darwin, probably to his son William Erasmus Darwin, concerning the collection of specimens of the Utricularia plant. He writes: "My Dear William / I have just heard, by the enclosed, about Utricularia. Could you visit Winchester for a pretty look & take a tin box or canister & send me four plants with floating leaves (& four submerged leaves) pretty soon. I want them much. In haste. Mamma has been swearing at me for doing too much. Yours affec. / C. Darwin."

    Darwin writes a postscript along the left margin: "If they have roots send them. Let me know by card before hand, that I may have [?] prepared for them."
    Charles Darwin (1809-1882) conducted research into the Utricularia plant for his book, Insectivorous Plants, which was published by John Murray in London in July 1875. Utricularia, commonly referred to as bladderworts, is a genus of carnivorous plants comprising more than 230 species that grow in fresh water and wet soil. Cultivated for their flowers, Utricularia capture small organisms by means of a bladder-like trap.

    William Erasmus Darwin (1839-1914), the oldest son born to Charles and Emma Darwin, pursued a career in banking and managed the financial affairs of his parents. As an infant, William served as a subject for his father's investigations on infant psychology. In addition, he occasionally assisted his father with his scientific investigations, ranging from collecting specimens to producing line drawings of them.

    A scarce letter not listed in the online Darwin Correspondence Project at Cambridge University.
    Condition: Flattened folds and light soiling, with some pencil annotations clarifying the postscript in the left margin. Adhesive residue along one margin on verso of integral blank.




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    Auction Dates
    May, 2017
    11th Thursday
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