Darwin’s Family Circle Revealed In A Newly Acquired Photo Album

The beard gene is strong with the Darwins.

Family patriarch Charles Darwin, circa 1875 (L) and William Erasmus Darwin, mid-1870s (R). Images courtesy of Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Gardens.

THE GOOD NEWS:


New discoveries can cast new light on familiar subjects, sometimes making iconic figures seem more accessible.

Today we know a lot about evolution, the driving genetic force that we experience every day, whether we’re removing those pesky vestigial organs like wisdom teeth or the appendix, or maybe landing on a tailbone after a nasty skateboarding fail. Yet we seem to know little about the everyday life of the founder of the theory of evolution, Charles Darwin.

A newly acquired photo album reveals a closer look at Charles Darwin’s family. The 19 prints of the family photo album were recently acquired by the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens near Pasadena, California. Some of these images offer a glimpse into Darwin’s lineage, featuring sweet portraits of Darwin’s daughters and staid photos of his spectacularly bearded sons.

Other photos are mysterious, showcasing unidentified subjects and quizzical handwritten notes scrawled on the back of the pictures. In a way, the images humanize Darwin; they cast off his exalted status as the father of evolution and instead portray him as an ordinary father and husband. The images also act as an indirect insight into the time when Darwin lived. We see the names and addresses of London (and European) photography studios on the backs of the photos, sometimes emblazoned with the typographical flourishes that were cool in the early Victorian Era. We see the clothing and hairstyles that the Darwins wanted to be recorded. There was no such thing as a candid photo in these early days of cameras, so the photo studio was as much about creating an image as it was about portraying reality. Like our current obsession with well-posed selfies, photography was less of a mirror and more a projection of how you wanted to be seen.

A century later, it seems we haven't evolved much after all.

Check out these photos (and backs of the photos) from Darwin’s family album below.

Daughter Henrietta Emma “Emmy” Litchfield, circa 1875. Image courtesy of Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Daughter Elizabeth Darwin, circa mid-1870s. Image courtesy of Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

George Howard Darwin, circa mid-1870s. Image courtesy of Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

George Howard (or other Darwin son) with baby, circa mid-1870s (L) and Richard B. Litchfield, Darwin’s son-in-law (Henrietta’s husband), Oct. 1879 (R). Images courtesy of Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Henrietta Darwin with her two dogs: Polly on her lap and Bobby on the ground, circa 1870s. Image courtesy of Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Articles
Creative Commons

National Tell a Joke Day dates back to 1944 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was having a meeting with Vice-President, Henry Wallace. The two men were tired and depressed due to the stress caused by leading a country through world war.

During a lull in the meeting, Wallace said, "Frank, to cheer you up I have a joke I'd like to share."

"Let's have it, Henry," Roosevelt replied while ashing his cigarette.

"Why did the chicken cross the road?" Wallace asked. "Not sure," Roosevelt replied.

"To get to the other side," Wallace responded.

Roosevelt laughed so hard that the bourbon he was drinking sprayed out of his nose and onto the floor of the oval office.

RELATED: A comedian shuts down a sexist heckler who, ironically, brought his daughters to the show

The joke was so funny, and did such a great job at lightening both their moods, Roosevelt proclaimed that every year, August 16 would be National Tell a Joke Day.

Just kidding.

Nobody knows why National Tell a Joke Day started, but in a world where the President of the United States is trying to buy Greenland, "Beverly Hills, 90210" is back on TV, and the economy is about to go off a cliff, we could all use a bit of levity.

To celebrate National Tell a Joke Day, the people on Twitter responded with hundreds of the corniest dad jokes ever told. Here are some of the best.

Culture

The Judean date palm was once common in ancient Judea. The tree itself was a source of shelter, its fruit was ubiquitous in food, and its likeness was even engraved on money. But the plant became extinct around 500 A.D., and the prevalent palm was no more. But the plant is getting a second chance at life in the new millennium after researchers were able to resurrect ancient seeds.

Two thousand-year-old seeds were discovered inside a pottery jar during an archaeological excavation of Masada, a historic mountain fortress in southern Israel. It is believed the seeds were produced between 155 B.C. and 64 A.D. Those seeds sat inside a researcher's drawer in Tel Aviv for years, not doing anything.

Elaine Solowey, the Director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura in Israel, wondered if she could revive the Judean Date Palm, so in 2005, she began to experiment. "I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time. How could it be?" Solewey said.

Keep Reading Show less
Science

There's been an uptick in fake emotional support animals (ESAs), which has led some airlines to crack down on which animals can and can't fly. Remember that emotional support peacock?

But some restrictions on ESAs don't fly with the Department of Transportation (DOT), leading them to crack down on the crack down.

Delta says that there has been an 84 percent increase in animal incidents since 2016, thanks in part to the increase of ESAs on airplanes. Last year, Delta airlines banned pit bulls and pit bull-related dog breeds after two airline staff were bitten by the breed while boarding a flight from Atlanta to Tokyo.

"We must err on the side of safety. Most recently, two Delta employees were bit by a pit bull traveling as a support animal last week. We struggled with the decision to expand the ban to service animals, knowing that some customers have legitimate needs, but we have determined that untrained, pit bull-type dogs posing as both service and support animals are a potential safety risk," Delta told People regarding the new rule.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via Liam Beach / Facebook

Trying to get one dog to sit still and make eye contact with a camera for more than half a second is a low-key miracle. Lining up 16 dogs, on steps, and having them all stare at the camera simultaneously is the work of a God-like dog whisperer.

This miracle worker is Liam Beach, a 19-year-old animal management graduate from Cardiff, Wales. A friend of his dared him to attempt the shot and he accepted the challenge.

"My friend Catherine challenged me to try to get all of my lot sat on the stairs for a photo. She said, 'I bet you can't pull it off,' so I thought 'challenge accepted,'" he said, accoriding to Paws Planet.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Americans on both sides of the political aisle can agree on one thing: our infrastructure needs a huge upgrade. While politicians drag their feet on high-speed rail projects, fixing bridges, and building new airports, one amazing project is picking up steam.

The Great American Rail-Trail, a bike path that will connect Washington state to Washington, D.C., is over 50% complete.

The trail is being planned by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit that is working with local governments to make the dream a reality.

Keep Reading Show less
Travel