Freeman Bibliographical Database

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This online database is the most comprehensive bibliography of the writings of Charles Darwin ever published. It is a revision of R. B. Freeman's pioneering work, The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist (2d ed. 1977). Freeman's book has long been the acknowledged authority for details about Darwin's publications, their various editions, bindings, variants and translations. Freeman recorded detailed information for every known Darwin publication up to 1975.1 Permission to reproduce this, together with unpublished additions and corrections by Freeman, was facilitated by The Charles Darwin Trust.

The Darwin Online project standardized Freeman's entries and corrected many errors and omissions. Another set of concise references for all entries was created. The new catalogue retains Freeman's original numbers for Darwin publications (e.g. 'F123'). New entries are assigned numbers consecutively from F1806. The database continues to be updated and corrected. Over 2,000 new Darwin publications and translations have been added to Freeman's original list. For example, Freeman recorded that the Origin of species had been translated into 29 languages. The Darwin Online project has increased these records (bringing them up to date) to 56 languages.

The database is searchable under the following fields:

All Fields: searches all the textual (i.e. non tick box) fields in the database.
Identifier: (e.g. Freeman's 'F' number or additional item, 'A' number)
Name(s): author, editor, translator or other contributor(s).
After date: entering a date here restricts the set of returned results to those which are dated after the supplied date. The supplied date may be incomplete, in that it consists only of a year, or a year with month only, or a precise date in the form YYYY-MM-DD
Before date
Title: the "assigned title", where the assigned title is derived by searching database fields in order of priority. Where the entry has an "exact title", this value is chosen in preference, otherwise it will be taken from the attributed title, description, or finally the "name" field if no other choice is available. (If an exact title is present then the assigned title field is not searched.)
Place: place of publication e.g. London.
Publisher: e.g. John Murray.
Periodical: e.g. Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette.
Language(s): e.g. German.
Document type: book, pamphlet, book contribution, periodical contribution, offprint, review.
Storage types: 'Available full text' AND/OR 'Available digital images' AND/OR 'PDF'. Ticking one or more of these will limit a search to those items whose text, image or both or PDF are on Darwin Online.

Record Display

After selecting 'browse' or conducting a search of the database individual records can be viewed. An example is below. (Click the record below, or here, to bring up the actual database record web page.) The URL in the web browser when viewing a particular record is a permanent stable URL, e.g.:

It is possible to jump quickly to another record by altering the identifier in the browser address window (given here in bold for clarity) to another number, e.g.:

After changing the number in the URL hit Enter to bring up the new record for F672.

If the electronic text or image of a particular item in the database is available on Darwin Online, then links are automatically provided on the bibliographical record page as text links, e.g.: Text   Images   Text & images  PDF

A sample record from the bibliographical database

The concise reference

These listings are based on the style used by The Correspondence of Charles Darwin.

Author. Date. Title. [language if not English and exact title not seen] [Translator] Number of volumes. Edition. Issue. Place: Publisher.

Articles and contributions to books:
Author. Date. Title. [Editor or author of main work] Periodical or book title. Number. Volume. (Date): Pages.

The concise reference is used as the record on text documents and search results pages. These are often shortened on the tables of contents pages to save space.

Detailed reference

This is usually the verbatim text from Freeman (unless updated or corrected) which normally includes binding, variants, page numbers and paper size information etc. Freeman's privately printed additions from 1986 have been added under his original entry. (For archival purposes the full original text of Freeman's 2d edition is provided in both text and facsimile image forms.) Additional corrections or additions contributed by others are also entered here.

Despite is comprehensiveness and importance, Freeman's work was not straightforward to transfer to a database. He usually gave the title only for the first edition of a work and, to save space and avoid errors, omitted it from all subsequent entries and translations. Many of these titles varied from the original. Rather than leaving the title field blank or inserting that of the first edition, Freeman's heading title has been copied into an 'Attributed title' field in all entries for a particular work. The 'Title' field contains the exact title of a work only if it has been seen by the editors of Darwin Online or was provided by Freeman.

Freeman did not give a number to every physical volume but sometimes to a series comprising multiple books. As each independent item on Darwin Online requires a unique identifier, in these cases Freeman's numbers have been subdivided with decimals as F123.1, F123.2 etc.


APS:  American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia. (modified from 'PPAmP')
BL:   British Library, Reference Division, London. (modified from 'L')
BS:  British Library, Lending Division, Boston Spa, Yorkshire.
BSC:  Items recorded from booksellers' catalogues, but not seen.
CLSU:  University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
CtY:   Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
CUL:  Cambridge University Library. (modified from 'C')
Darwin Library CUL: Darwin Collection, University Library, Cambridge. (modified from 'CD').
DLC:  Library of Congress, Washington, District of Columbia.
Down House: Down House, Downe, Kent (modified from 'D').
NLS:  National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh. (modified from 'ENL').
ICF:  Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois.
LB:  Royal National Institute for the Blind, London.
LIC:  Imperial College Library of Science and Technology.
LLS:  Linnean Society of London.
LNH:  British Museum (Natural History), London.
LU:  Senate House, University of London.
LUC:  Library of University College London.
LUI:  Imperial College of Science and Technology, London.
LZ:     Zoological Society of London.
PBN:  Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.
UT:   University of Toronto, Ontario. (modified from 'T').
ViU:  University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
nd        No date.
Anon.  Anonymous.

(Some of the above abbreviations used in the Freeman bibliographical database have been modified from the original abbreviations used by Freeman. This has been done to make the abbreviations in the database more consistent with others used in Darwin Online and elsewhere in the scholarly literature on Darwin and to make their meanings more informative to a wider variety of readers. Freeman's necessity to save space on the printed page is no longer necessary in an electronic database. In all cases Freeman's original abbreviation is given at the end of the lines above.)

The almost 3,000 additional or supplementary texts (not written by Darwin) included in Darwin Online, such as reviews of Darwin's books, are also recorded in the database and are given an 'A' number. To see a list of all additional items click here.

To submit a suggestion for inclusion or to report an error in the bibliography please email Dr John van Wyhe. We welcome scans or photographs of title pages, bindings or other pages of works not already included on this site. (These extracts are not listed on the table of contents page, but can be found on their respective entry pages via the Freeman Bibliographical Database search page here.)

For a bibliography including works read and cited by Darwin, see the bibliographies in each volume of the Correspondence of Charles Darwin and the Bibliography of works cited in Darwin Online, i.e. in the editorial notes and introductions, which includes the first complete bibliography of works cited in Darwin's shorter publications. For Darwin's reading notebooks, click here.


John van Wyhe

1 The database has been supplemented from unpublished corrections and additions compiled by Freeman before his death in 1986 and those in: Freeman, 1986. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. Additions and Corrections to Second Edition of 1977 to 1 January, 1986. University College London: for the author; as well as Freeman, 1986. Darwin in Chinese. Archives of Natural History 13 (1): 19-24; P. J. P. Whitehead, 1988. Darwin in Chinese: some additions. Archives of Natural History 15 (1): 61-62; the bibliography of The Correspondence of Charles Darwin and subsequent research by John van Wyhe, Kees Rookmaaker, Angus Carroll, J. David Archibald, Christine Chua and other contributors. See acknowledgements. Freeman's F771a, F1101, F1711, F1650, F1743a and F1279 have been deleted as errors. F6 was incorrectly described as a translation of F1.

Note the original text by Freeman within the Detailed reference field is reproduced with thanks to The Charles Darwin Trust and Dr Mary Whitear for use of the Bibliographical Handlist. Copyright. All rights reserved. For private academic use only. Not for republication or reproduction in whole or in part without the prior written consent of The Charles Darwin Trust, 31 Baalbec Road, London N5 1QN. Corrections and additions copyright The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online - University of Cambridge - and now National University of Singapore.


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