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Dr. Joseph Leidy (1823–1891), the pre-eminent scientist of his time, was an expert in fields as diverse as vertebrate paleontology and parasitology. As an Academy curator for decades and the Academy president from 1882 until his death, he corresponded with a diverse group of scientists whose nearly 3,000 handwritten letters remain in the Academy Archives. One of Leidy’s most legendary correspondents is the father of evolutionary theory, Charles Darwin. Darwin’s letter, in which he comments on Leidy’s support of his theory of natural selection, is an Archival gem; Academy staff display it with great reverence for visiting VIPs and researchers. Below we include an excerpt from this letter:

What other famous folks corresponded with Leidy?

200 Years. 200 Stories. Story 68: “Corresponding With Darwin ”

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photo of the letter from Charles Darwin to Joseph
The front (right) and back (left) faces of the 1860 letter from Charles Darwin to Joseph Leidy. Darwin's signature is visible in the lower left. The "Dr. Leidy" text in the lower left corner was written some time after the date of the correspondence. Ewell Sale Stewart Library & Archives coll. 1.

Corresponding With Darwin

Dr. Joseph Leidy (1823–1891), the pre-eminent scientist of his time, was an expert in fields as diverse as vertebrate paleontology and parasitology. As an Academy curator for decades and the Academy president from 1882 until his death, he corresponded with a diverse group of scientists whose nearly 3,000 handwritten letters remain in the Academy Archives. One of Leidy’s most legendary correspondents is the father of evolutionary theory, Charles Darwin. Darwin’s letter, in which he comments on Leidy’s support of his theory of natural selection, is an Archival gem; Academy staff display it with great reverence for visiting VIPs and researchers. Below we include an excerpt from this letter:

What other famous folks corresponded with Leidy?