FREEMAN, Richard Broke. Darwin Pedigrees. London: Hill & Ainsworth (Printers) Ltd. for the author, 1984.

Folio (295 x 209mm), pp. [iii]-viii (title, copyright statement on verso, contents, pedigrees, preface), [1]-23 (facsimile of H. Farnham Burke’s Pedigree of the Family of Darwin), [1 (blank)], 25-84 (commentary, appendices and postliminary matter). 9 facsimile plates of bookplates and a medallion, and 19 full-page genealogical tables in the text of the commentary. Original green cloth, upper board and spine lettered in gilt. (Minimal light bumping at extremities.) A very good, clean copy.

First edition thus. The first part of the work is a facsimile of Burke’s Pedigree of the Family of Darwin, which was first published privately in 1888 in an edition of only sixty copies. Compiled by Sir Henry Farnham Burke (1859-1930, Garter King of Arms and grandson of the founder of the eponymous Peerage and Baronetage), it was, as Freeman notes, ‘the only full [pedigree] that has ever appeared in print’ (p. vii) and reproduces both signatures and bookplates of a number of family members. However, it provides only cursory information on those who were not born Darwins and ends in 1888, so the text of the reprint is supplemented by Freeman’s ‘Commentary’, which gives fuller information on non-Darwin family members (including Wedgwoods) and extends the pedigrees into the twentieth century.

Appendix 1 provide details of name variants – a useful souce of information for a family very susceptible to nicknames – and includes ‘Flycatcher – Charles Robert Darwin’, ‘Useful Thomas – Thomas Wedgwood […] from his making Queen’s useful ware’, and ‘Rhadamanthus minor – Henrietta Emma Litchfield […] by Thomas Henry Huxley, from her strictness when correcting manuscript’ (pp. 62-64). Appendix 2 gives information on the Darwins and the Royal Society, since ‘Darwins have been Fellows of the Royal Society in father to son sequence for longer than members of any other family’ (p. 67), and is followed by a bibliography and a comprehensive index to the whole work.


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