Dr Claire Barlow, President of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, has presented the Master with copies of CPS journals including contributions by Darwin family members from the 19th and 20th centuries. These include articles by three of Charles Darwin’s sons: George, Francis and Horace. Sir George Howard Darwin (1845-1912) was CPS President twice between 1890-1892 and 1910-1912, while his brother, the botanist Francis Darwin, took the role between 1896 and 1898. George Howard Darwin’s son Charles Galton Darwin also contributed articles to the journals.

The Cambridge Philosophical Society holds a vast archive of material dating back to its foundation in 1819, including the journals which began in 1822. Darwin Fellow Dr Edwin Rose, an AHRC Early Career Research Fellow from the Department of History and Philosophy of Science oversaw the collection of the journals from the CPS archive. Dr Rose said:

“It is a delight to see the donation of such important articles to Darwin College. These papers embody some the most significant work of George Howard Darwin and Charles Galton Darwin, two generations of the Darwin family of Newnham Grange, the pr operty that became Darwin College in the mid-1960s. They also represent the broader scientific contributions of the Darwin family of Cambridge and their close relationship with the Cambridge Philosophical Society—something continued by Darwin College to this day.”

The Cambridge Philosophical Society has enjoyed a close connection with the Darwin family since its foundation. Two of its founders, John Stevens Henslow and Adam Sedgwick were mentors of Charles Darwin, while John Stevens Henslow’s personal friendship with Darwin helped to inspire his passion for natural history. He also promoted Darwin’s work as he developed his theory of evolution.

The 15 offprints and journal extracts donated to the College are drawn from come from the publications Transactions and Proceedings and cover a variety of subjects in the biological, physical and mathematical sciences.

A sustainability and materials engineer and Fellow Emerita of Newnham College, Dr Claire Barlow is herself a direct descendent of Charles Darwin.

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