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Congress 2019 is a meeting of meetings comprised of 73 different scholarly associations holding their own annual conferences, making it the largest academic gathering in Canada.

Charles Darwin (1809-1882), a world-famous naturalist who introduced the concept of natural selection, was known to have exchanged letters with colleagues to discuss their shared interests in nature and animals. In one of our Open Collections, Charles Darwin Letters, you can browse 52 digitized letters written to and from Darwin. This post will explore two sub-collections acquired by UBC Woodward Library.

Darwin-Burdon-Sanderson Letters – 1873-1881

Darwin-Burdon-Sanderson Letters collection has about 40 handwritten letters corresponded between Charles Darwin and John Scott Burdon-Sanderson (1828-1905), an English physiologist and the first Superintendent of the Brown Animal Sanatory Institution. Woodward Library purchased the letters as a part of a collection from Dr. Hugh M. Sinclair (1910-1990), a lecturer in physiology and biochemistry at Magdalen College, Oxford in 1966.

In 1873, Darwin and Burdon-Sanderson started their collaborative research on insect-eating plants, particularly Drosera and Dionaea. Their letters in our collection, exchanged during 1873-1881, discussed their experiments on the plants’ digestive powers and leaf movements. Eventually, Darwin published the results of their research as part of his book, Insectivorous Plants (1875).

Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882.  [Letter, Charles R. Darwin to John Burdon-Sanderson, June 24, 1873], 1873-06-24.

Fox/Pearce (Darwin) Collection – 1821-1884

Fox/Pearce (Darwin) Collection consists of family records of the Fox branch of Darwin’s family, such as letters, observations, photographs and newspaper clips. Woodward Library purchased the collection from Captain Christopher Pearce, a descendant of the Fox family residing in Vancouver Island in 1970.

One important figure in the collection is Charles Darwin’s second cousin, William Darwin Fox (1805-1880). Like Charles, William was also a naturalist and an entomologist interested in collecting beetles. He was credited as the person who invited Charles to the world of entomology. As close friends, Charles and William maintained their relationship by writing letters to each other and sharing their interests in their fields.

Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882. [Letter, Charles R. Darwin to William Darwin Fox, June 8, 1856], 1856-06-08.

We hope you can find Darwin’s passion and enthusiasm for nature and animals through his handwritten letters. To see all of the physical materials in their entirety, please visit UBC Rare Books and Special Collections.




The Asian Library will open at 11:00 am Monday to Friday beginning Monday, May 27 until August 30 to accommodate upgrades and renovations with the exception of June 1 to 7 when the Library will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for Congress 2019.

The renovation, which is expected to be completed in the late Fall of 2019, will allow for better service delivery, study spaces, and programming spaces for the Asian Library as well as several improvements for the collection. Learn more.

Should you require access to collections during the hours of 9 and 11 a.m., please email us at asian.library@ubc.ca us or call us at (604) 822-2427 ahead of time so that staff can assist you.

Thank you for your understanding as we continue to improve spaces and services for faculty, students and the community.

Any questions about the renovation can be directed to Shirin Eshghi, Head, Asian Library.

The post Asian Library to open at 11 a.m. to accommodate upgrades appeared first on About UBC Library.

EZproxy will be down for maintenance May 14th from 10:00pm – 11:00pm. We expect minimal service disruptions.

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