Important Autograph letter, signed, to Darwin’s American publisher Appleton & Co. discussing the need for a new American edition of the Origin, incorporating the latest revisions and additions
Down, Beckenham, 24 November 1869
4 pages, 8vo (203 x 128 mm), ink on paper, small loss of blank corner margin, creases from posting.
A fine and substantial autograph letter to an unnamed person at Appleton & Co., Darwin’s American publishers. Darwin is anxious for them to bring out a new American edition of the Origin, incorporating corrections and additions since the second edition of 1860, ‘as it is 92 pages longer than the 2nd. edition, besides endless small though important corrections’. He states his belief that ’the continued large sale of this book in England Germany & France has depended on my keeping up each edition to the existing standard of science’, and threatens that if Appleton is unable to comply he will ask Asa Gray to find another publisher. He also threatens that he will not give Appleton his ‘new book’ (i.e. The Descent of Man) unless they agree to a new edition of the Origin. In the event, Appleton published a new edition in 1870 as Darwin had demanded (note that their 1869 edition was just a reprint of their 1860 edition), and published the first American edition of The Descent of Man in 1871.
Provenance: Sotheby’s 21 May 1968 to Ralph Colp, Jr
Darwin Correspondence Project 7007 (partial transcription)