RECORD: Anon. 1943. Obituary of Leonard Darwin. The Times (27 March): 1, 6 and 14. Transcribed by Christine Chua, edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 10.2019. RN1

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DARWIN. – On March 26, 1943, at Cripp's Corner, Forest Row, after a very short illness, LEONARD DARWIN, late major, R.E., fourth and last surviving son of Charles Darwin, aged 93. Funeral private.

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Major Leonard Darwin, late R.E., president of the Eugenics Education Society, 1911-28, died at Cripps's Corner, Forest Row, yesterday.

Born on January 15, 1850, he was the fourth and last surviving son of Charles Darwin. He was educated at Woolwich and passed into the Royal Engineers in 1871, reaching the rank of major in 1889, the year before he retired from the Army. In the course of his military career he served as Instructor, S.M.E., Chatham, from 1877 to 1882, and was on the Staff in the Intelligence Department at the War Office from 1885 to 1890. He was a member of several scientific expeditions including the transit of Venus of 1874 and 1882.

In former years Major Darwin took an active part in politics, and sat as Liberal Unionist M.P. for the Lichfield Division of Staffordshire from 1892 to 1895. He was president of the Royal Geographical Society from 1908 to 1911, was chairman of the Bedford College for Women, London University, from 1913 to 1920, and throughout the 1914-18 war was chairman of the Professional Classes Relief Council.

It is, however, for his work as president of the Eugenics Education Society that many will best remember him. He has been described as the founder of sane views on population and society, just as his father was regarded as the founder of modern biology. In 1926 he published a book entitled "The Need for Eugenic Reform," and that volume will probably for long be accepted as the standard presentation of the case for eugenics. Moderate in temper, it was based on sound learning, and did much to raise its subject from the position of a pseudoscience, the hobby of a few enthusiastic but ill-informed cranks. He had previously published other books- "Bimetallism" (1898) and "Municipal Trade" (1903).

His first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of the late Mr. G. R. Fraser, died in 1898. In 1900 he married, secondly, Charlotte Mildred, daughter of the late Mr. E. Langton. She died in 1940.

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We announce with regret the death, at the age of 93, of MAJOR LEONARD DARWIN, late R.E., president of the Eugenics Education Society, 1911-28, fourth son of Charles Darwin.

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