Litchfield, Henrietta Emma née Darwin, 1843-1927 (editor of Darwin Papers)
- Existence: 1843 - 1927
Henrietta “Etty” Darwin was the eldest of Charles Darwin’s daughters to reach adulthood. She married Richard Buckley Litchfield in 1871. She was a valued editor to her father as well as companion and correspondent to both of her parents. Henrietta played a significant role in the continuing memorialization of both of her parents: she edited passages of The Autobiography of Charles Darwin (1887), as well as a collection of her mother’s private papers which were published as Emma Darwin, Wife of Charles Darwin: A Century of Letters (1904).
Although Henrietta was not afforded the formal schooling provided to her brothers, her keen editorial eye was sought after by her father for his scientific writing, particularly his 1871 work, The Descent of Man. In this Henrietta provided far more than grammatical assistance; Darwin asked her to help clarify and enliven his work. Though far less recognised by Victorian society for her intellectual worth than her father or brothers, Henrietta was an essential lynchpin in the Darwin circle, and helped anchor both the scientific and domestic activities of her family.
Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:
Single letter from Henrietta Emma Darwin to Mary Anne Ruck (1822-1905) née Matthews, mother of Amy Richenda Ruck (1850-1876), first wife of Francis Darwin. The letter is undated but is presumed to have been written before Henrietta's mrriage to Richard Buckley Litchfield on 31 August 1871. In the letter Henrietta sends her apologies for cancelling an appointment with a 'Sir Roger'.
A collection of eight letters from Francis to Henrietta (1843-1927). None of the letters are dated but two are sent from Clapham Grammar School where Francis was a pupil until 1866 and it is thought the reminder were written by Francis when he was a student at Cambridge from 1866 to 1870. The letters give news from school and university.