-Contributed by Stephanie Cameron.
March’s Book of the Month selection is probably familiar to most people. As one of the world’s most debated books, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection has been discussed by scholars, theologians, and society at large. The CHP’s copy of On the Origin of Species was digitized in partnership with the American Psychological Association.
First published in 1859, this groundbreaking work described the natural world as one characterized by adaptation and gradual change occurring as a result of natural selection over time. The book captured the attention of scientists, philosophers, and the general public in the 19th century, and discussion regarding Origin continues today.
The first edition of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species sold out almost instantaneously. As a result, the book was revised and 3,000 copies were reissued in 1860. The CHP has one of the 1860 prints. This particular work is an invaluable addition to the CHP’s book collection and appears to have been widely used. It was so important to the historical record and also so well-used that it made a good candidate for repair through an IMLS American Heritage preservation grant.
The inside cover of the book contains an inscription from Secretary I. P. Allen: [“Darwin on Species: One calendar month allowed for reading”]. Additionally, it contains what appears to be a tour schedule for a possible lecture or seminar series.
Questions for discussion: Any thoughts on what the schedule on the inside cover is? What impact has On the Origin of Species had on science? On society?