DARWIN, Charles Robert (1809-1882)
The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex
London: John Murray, 1871. 2 volumes, octavo. (7 1/2 x 5 inches). , 423, ; , 475, pp. Half-titles. Publisher's ads at end of both volumes dated January 1871.
Publisher's blindstamped green cloth, gilt spine, dark blue glazed endpapers.
Provenance: Frederick du Cane Godman (bookplate)
First edition, first issue: the first appearance of the word "evolution" in any of Darwin's works.
In The Descent of Man, Darwin "compared man's physical and psychological characteristics to similar traits in apes and other animals, showing how even man's mind and moral sense could have developed through evolutionary processes" (Norman). 2,500 copies of the first issue were published on February 24 and sold at £1.4s. The second issue was published the following month. This fine example with important provenance to Frederick DuCane Godman, the English naturalist who conceived, authored, and underwrote the groundbreaking Biologia Centrali-Americana, who corresponded with Darwin as his scientific colleague. Born into a wealthy English family in 1834 (his father was a partner in the British brewer Whitbread), Godman studied at Eton and Cambridge, where he met his later co-author Osbert Salvin and founded the British Ornithological Union. Much influenced by the 1859 publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, Godman and Salvin believed that a complete examination of the flora and fauna of Central America would reveal patterns on the distribution of species and evolution.
Freeman 937; Norman 599.