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Darwin made copious notes in his books. This sample is from Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology
The website shows both the book page and a transcript of each annotation. Red lines show how notes (top) and marks such as underlining (bottom) are recorded
Cambridge University Library
A few of the 1480 books in Charles Darwin's personal collection.
Notes and comments hand-written by Charles Darwin on the pages and margins of the books in his personal library are now available online for the first time, enabling new insights into the great naturalist’s thought processes and the development of the theory of evolution.
Darwin’s scientific library comprised 1480 books, of which 730 contain abundant research notes in their margins. All the annotated books are in the process of being digitized, resulting in high-resolution images of each book’s pages showing Darwin’s handwriting along with a transcription of the notes in a companion panel. (See image at bottom of page.)
The first phase of the project has just been completed, with 330 of the most heavily annotated books now accessible online at the Biodiversity Heritage Library for all to . The page images can be manipulated and magnified, and the view can be adjusted to show a single page or two adjacent pages. Direct links are provided to related annotations, and the site enables users to search all the annotations in the books by word or phrase.