New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1860. Item #04565
First American Edition, First Issue, of
“The Most Influential Scientific Work of the Nineteenth Century”
"Darwin's Magnum Opus"
DARWIN, Charles. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Faces in the Struggle for Life. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1860.
First American edition, first issue (with two quotations on the verso of the half-title).
One of only 1,500 copies printed.
Octavo (7 3/4 x 5 inches; 197 x 127 mm.). 432 pp. Folding lithographed diagram (speciation tree) facing p, 108. Some light foxing throughout as usual, pp. 291/2 with folded corner (original binders flaw), small unobtrusive and light stain in upper margin of a few leaves toward end.
Original dark green bead-grain cloth with covers decoratively stamped in blind and spine ruled in gilt and blind and lettered in gilt. Original dark brown coated endpapers. Gilt on spine somewhat dull, minor expert and almost invisible strengthening to head of spine, tiny piece missing from tail of spine. Rear free endpaper with some clean tears at top margin. Still an incredible copy with the early ink signature of Benjamin Lincoln on first blank leaf.
An exceptional copy of the extremely scarce first issue of the first American edition. Housed in a quarter dark green morocco over green cloth clamshell case, spine with five raised bands decoratively stamped and lettered in gilt in compartments.
One of the most influential scientific works of the nineteenth century, On the Origin of Species was (and still is) one of the most controversial. In it “Darwin not only drew an entirely new picture of the workings of organic nature; he revolutionized our methods of thinking and our outlook on the natural order of things. The recognition that constant change is the order of the universe had been finally established and a vast step forward in the uniformity of nature had been taken” (Printing and the Mind of Man).
"The most important biological book ever written" (Freeman).
"The most important single work in science" (Dibner, Heralds of Science).
"What the dropping of the the first atomic bomb was to the twentieth century, the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species was to the nineteenth century. Battle lines were drawn on both religious and scientific grounds" (Heirs of Hippocrates).
The first edition of On the Origin of Species was published in London on 24 November 1859. In total 1250 copies were printed, but after deducting presentation and review copies, and five for Stationers' Hall copyright, around 1,170 copies were available for sale. The second edition of 3,000 copies was quickly brought out on 7 January 1860. The present first American edition followed and a third English edition was published in 1861. The book went through a further four editions during Darwin's lifetime and has remained in print ever since.
Although published the same year as the second English edition, the text of the first American edition (with the two stereo reprints of the same year) is identical to the first English edition (Freeman 373) with the whale-bear story surviving intact.
Freeman 377; Dibner, Heralds of Science 188 (reference); Grolier/Horblit 23b; Printing and the Mind of Man 344b (describing the 1859 first edition).