RECORD: Donders, Franciscus Cornelis. 1882.04.26. Letter to Emma Darwin. CUL-DAR215.7e. Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 11.2021. Corrections by Anne Secord 4.2022. RN2

NOTE: See record in the Darwin Online manuscript catalogue, enter its Identifier here. Reproduced with permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin.

"Donders, Frans Cornelis, 1818-89. Dutch ophthalmologist and physiologist. Prof. Physiology Utrecht. 1864 Accommodation and refraction of the eye. 1871 D gave CD information for Expression. 1872 Apr. D wrote to CD to tell him of his election as foreign member of the Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen. 1874 Jul. CD wrote to D, to thank him for entertaining his son George. Late 1881 At Int. Med. Congr. CD sat between D and Virchow. Brent 1981, p. 499." (Paul van Helvert & John van Wyhe, Darwin: A Companion, 2021) Donders visited Darwin in September 1869.


Utrecht, April 26 1882.

Mrs Darwin

Dear Madam

I had the pleasure, as you may remember, to see Mr. Darwin, your lamented husband, in his domestic life, to see him surrounded and supported, in every respect by the love and assiduous care of yourself and your children; and the deep impression I then received has never pasted away.


Whilst science and humanity are indebted to your solicitude for the full and free display of his mighty Genius, the scientific friends and admirers of the great and venerated master are fully aware that your grief and distress, at this sad event, must be as great as your love and devotedness.

Allow me then to give expression to my profound sympathy with you in your bereavement.

No better consolation can be afforded to you than the comfort of possessing your dear Sons and Daughters, in every respect worthy of their eminent Father.

With every expression of respect and esteem.

Believe me to be

Yours most sincerely


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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

File last updated 25 September, 2022