Digitising Darwin

Heiskell DarwinOver the years several Darwin originals have made their way to us for photography- a handwritten sheet from the manuscript of ‘On the Origin of Species’, his class cards, letters and recently some shells collected by Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle which had been rediscovered amongst Lyell’s geology collection. This week I was delighted to receive a whole trolley load of books from the Darwin collection which were being photographed in preparation for a printed catalogue. The Rare Books and Manuscripts team have already completed the online cataloguing (see their blog about this mini-project here http://libraryblogs.is.ed.ac.uk/blog/2013/08/30/darwins-voyage-of-discovery/ ).

Much of what arrived in the DIU was from the Heiskell Darwin collection- a donation of first editions made to the University in 2012 from the Heiskell Bibliographical Foundation, although some beautiful plates from the ‘The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle’ came from our existing collection. As our image archive of Darwin is growing, I thought it might be nice to show some of the highlights here.

Susan Pettigrew

Heiskell Darwin Heiskell Darwin Heiskell Darwin Charles Lyell collection 0009323d 0009315d 0055917d


  1. John Scally said:

    What a terrific post, thanks. I love the one in the Treasures’ Room. You’ll remember we also did the ‘Darwin’s Edinburgh’ exhibition in 2009 for which you guys did a lot scanning. Lovely to see Edinburgh’s most famous undergraduate drop out going under the camera.



    February 27, 2014
    • diu said:

      Thanks John! I’m really pleased we found such a lovely portrait of him- Elizabeth came up trumps for us!

      February 27, 2014

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