Friday, May 18, 2007

Online Archive of Charles Darwin's Letters

Whether they’re studying his groundbreaking research, his correspondence with pigeon breeders, or even his personal-hygiene habits, scholars interested in Charles Darwin will find plenty of grist in a new online archive.

The Darwin Correspondence Project, run by archivists at the University of Cambridge, makes almost 5,000 of Darwin’s personal letters available online. And the site provides summaries of an additional 9,000 missives — including some that Darwin wrote when he was just 12 years old.

Cambridge actually started the correspondence project in 1974, and the university has already published 15 books’ worth of the scientist’s letters, according to BBC News.

But now that the database is going digital, archivists say they will put heretofore unpublished letters up on the Web site four years before they include the material in books." —Brock Read

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