1/30/2018 Staff Writer

F&M's 'Darwin Day' Lecture: Reading 'Origin of Species' in Lincoln's America

Just a few days before the 209th birthdays of Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln, Franklin & Marshall College’s Feb. 9 “Darwin Day” lecture will feature Sandra Herbert, president-elect of the History of Earth Sciences Society.

Herbert, professor emerita at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will speak about “Reading Charles Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’ in Abraham Lincoln’s America.” She will discuss how an American audience during the Civil War reacted to Darwin’s book.

  • Charles Darwin, during the period he was trying to publish "Origin of Species." Charles Darwin, during the period he was trying to publish "Origin of Species." Image Credit: Public Domain

Herbert has spent her career teaching the history of science. She earned acclaim for her 2006 book, “Charles Darwin, Geologist,” and her scholarly editing of “The Red Notebook of Charles Darwin and Charles Darwin’s Notebooks, 1836-1844.” The naturalist published “The Red Notebook” in 1839 after spending nearly five years sailing around the world aboard the HMS Beagle, exploring various species.

In 1859, Darwin published “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.” It’s regarded as the foundation of evolutionary biology.

  • Lincoln in 1858, one year before Darwin published "Origin of Species" and two years before he became US president. Lincoln in 1858, one year before Darwin published "Origin of Species" and two years before he became US president. Image Credit: Public Domain

Lincoln was elected president in 1860 and served during the Civil War. He died, felled by an assassin’s bullet, just before hostilities ended in 1865. Lincoln and Darwin were born on the same day, Feb. 12, 1809.

The 16th annual “Darwin Day” lecture and discussion is sponsored by F&M’s program in Science, Technology and Society, with help from the Department of Earth and Environment. Free and open to the public, the program begins at noon, Feb. 9, in the Steinman College Center’s Booth Ferris Room. A luncheon is served before the program begins at 12:10 p.m.

Reservations are required. Please RSVP no later than Feb. 6 to diane.kadyk@fandm.edu 

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