London’s Natural History Museum has announced the purchase of the world’s largest collection of works by and about Charles Darwin.
The Kohler Darwin Collection includes almost everything Darwin published from 1829 onwards, including the first edition of On the Origin of Species detailing his theory of evolution by natural selection.
Richard Lane, Science Director at the Museum, said the purchase would make the museum “the ultimate Darwin resource”.
“Darwin brought about a revolution in how humans think about themselves and the natural world.
Combining this collection with our existing holdings gives us an unprecedented insight into how the theory of evolution developed, and how Darwin worked.”
The collection includes the first edition of On the Origin of Species presentation copy, a rare copy of Zoology of the Voyage of HMS Beagle and 470 different editions of On the Origin of Species in 28 languages plus Braille.
Antiquarian booksellers Chris and Michele Kohler pieced the collection together over 20 years. Initially a small collection of evolution books, it developed into a mission to assemble the greatest ever Darwin collection. The books occupied four rooms in their home before being bought by the Museum.
Costing £985,000, the Kohler Darwin Collection is the biggest collection purchase in the Museum’s 125-year history and was made possible through a grant of £712,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund as well as contributions from individual donors, trusts and charities.
Internet Link: Natural History Museum