1880. London: John Murray, 1880.
8vo, x, 592, 32 (ads dated May 1878) pp. Illustrated with 196 in-text woodcuts. Original green blind-stamped cloth, backstrip titled in gilt, brown coated endpapers, hinges cracked, a little wear to crown and foot of backstrip, text block edges (but not pages) stained, an unsophisticated copy. Y
§ First edition, first issue, inscribed in Charles Darwin’s hand, “Elizabeth Darwin, From her Father”. Presentation copies from Darwin, in his own hand, are exceptionally rare (most presentation copies were inscribed “from the author” by the publisher); a copy inscribed to a family member by Darwin himself is extraordinarily so. Elizabeth Darwin, known as Bessy, was Charles and Emma Darwin’s youngest daughter, who lived at home until the death of her mother, and died in 1926. Very little is known about her. “Despite her constant presence in the house, only very occasionally does her name appear in any of the mountain of family letters” (Bowlby, Charles Darwin: A New Life, 408). After her mother’s death, Elizabeth moved to a small house in Cambridge where she lived to be 78. The book is an extension of Darwin’s work on movement in climbing plants to show that the same mechanisms hold true for flowering plants in general. Darwin was assisted by his son, Francis, who had become an accomplished botanist. The book was well reviewed and immediately sold 1500 copies. Freeman 1325. Item #110418