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Letter : to Dr. William Withering, 14 May 1775
1 folded leaf ; 21 cm.
Collection number: MS 0014

Darwin, Erasmus, 1731-1802; physician and philosopher. Letter dated May 1775 to physician/botanist William Withering discussing a purchase of new books, an experiment by Dr. William Small, and a Parliamentary bill concerning James Watt's steam engine patent.

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Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Erasmus Darwin, an English physician, poet and philosopher, had a botanical garden at Lichfield. He founded three scientific societies in the English Midlands. He wrote several philosophical works about nature, of which the best known is his poem "The Botanic Garden." He was one of the few people in the late 18th century to write about evolution; his grandson Charles Darwin's contributions to the field are better known.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

A short letter sent from Darwin to William Withering, a physician and member of Darwin's Lunar Society, in which Darwin first notes his recent purchase of a large number of German books. He then refers to some books of alchemy he hopes to acquire, to an experiment by Dr. William Small, and to the passage through Parliament of a bill granting James Watt an extension on his steam engine patent.

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Terms of Access and Use
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Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Erasmus Darwin Letter, Mount Holyoke College, Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, Mass.

History of the Collection

Additional Information
Contact Information
Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
8 Dwight Hall
50 College St.
South Hadley, MA 01075

Phone: (413) 538-2013
Fax: (413) 538-2370

Email Reference Form:
Encoding funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

  • Small, William, 1734-1775.
  • Books and reading - England - History - 18th century - Sources.
  • Great Britain - Intellectual life - 18th century - Sources.
  • Scientists - Great Britain - Correspondence.
  • Steam engines - Patents.

  • Withering, William, 1741-1799.

Genre terms
  • Letters.

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