Scholars catalog Darwin’s library online

The effort includes 13,000 volumes, including books, pamphlets and journals

It’s hard to overstate Charles Darwin’s influence on wildlife biology and ecology. But what were the influences on him?

Coinciding with what would be Darwin’s 215th birthday, scholars are releasing what they say is his complete personal library. The catalog stretches across 300 pages, detailing 7,400 titles and 13,000 volumes, including books, pamphlets and journals. The list includes 9,300 links to copies of works available online, offering new insight into the author of the groundbreaking Origin of Species.

“The size and range of works in the library makes manifest the extraordinary extent of Darwin’s research into the work of others,” said John van Wyhe, at the National University of Singapore Department of Biological Sciences, who leads The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online effort.

After his death in 1882, much of Darwin’s library was preserved and catalogued, but many items were lost. Researchers say past efforts to compile his library included just 15% of its contents.

The new collection by the author of Origin of Species includes publications tackling topics from gorillas to Colorado grasshoppers.

Header Image: This oil painting Victor Eustaphieff shows Darwin in his study one of his bookcases reflected in the mirror. Credit: State Darwin Museum, Moscow