Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Darwin Census Underway

Among the many interesting tidbits in this month's Fine Books & Collections is a notice that the Darwin Online folks have undertaken a census of all extant copies of the first edition of On the Origin of Species. "The Origin was first published in 1859. The publisher, John Murray, recorded a first printing of 1,250 copies. It went on sale to the trade on 24 November, and sold out the same day. Today, many copies of the 1st edition are in public and academic libraries, but many are also in private hands or in the trade. It is the objective of this census to record as many copies as possible regardless of their current status, and to provide a mechanism for keeping track of registered copies in the future."

The Census Guide [PDF] is available for download and can be returned by fax to the census-takers. So if your library, bookshop, collection, &c. contains a copy of the first edition, please do consider filling out the census.