Cambridge University Library

Darwin in Conversation

Charles Darwin’s name is so famous, still so constantly invoked in debates on evolution, society, and religion, that the man himself is easily overlooked.

In this exhibition we’ve just designed in collaboration with Skellon Studio, Darwin’s letters sit alongside his famous publications, providing a more rounded, personal view of Darwin. A prolific correspondent, he wrote and received over 15,000 letters in his lifetime. Cambridge University Library’s upcoming exhibition uses this correspondence to uncover little-known aspects of Darwin’s life. It reveals a global network, fuelled by letters, carrying knowledge and insight between the public, subject specialists, and some of the most famous names of 19th century science. Darwin’s ideas were forged through this correspondence.

The exhibition comes at the completion of the Darwin Correspondence Project, a 40-year endeavour to publish all of Darwin’s correspondence.

Whilst working on this the famously missing notebooks turned up and are now amongst the exhibits in this show that runs until 3rd December 2022.