Sir Francis Darwin (1848-1925), botanist, was born at Downe, Kent, on 16 August 1848, the son of the naturalist Charles Darwin. He attended the grammar school at Clapham before entering Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1886 (B.A., 1870; M.B. and M.A., 1875). He studied medicine at St George's Hospital, but never went into practice. Darwin worked as his father's secretary and research assistant, 1875-1882. He became Cambridge University lecturer in botany in 1884, and Fellow of Christ's College in 1886. He was reader in botany, 1888-1904.
In 1874 Darwin married Amy Ruck, who died in 1876 giving birth to their son Bernard Richard Meiron. After the death of his wife he lived at Downe with his parents and child. After his father's death in 1882 Darwin moved to Cambridge. In 1883 he married Ellen Wordsworth Crofts (1856–1903), a lecturer in English literature at Newnham College (where she had been a student in 1874–77), with whom he had a daughter, Frances, who became known as a poet under her married name of Frances Cornford. After the death of his second wife in 1903 Darwin resigned from the readership in botany and moved to London, but after only about a year returned to Cambridge and continued his botanical research. In 1913 he married Florence Henrietta, née Fisher (d. 1920), the widow of Professor F. W. Maitland.
Darwin was knighted in 1913, and died in Cambridge on 19 September 1925.
Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8848
Scope and Contents
Drawings of Sir Francis Darwin (1848-1925), 1904, in charcoal, 29.5 x 23cm; Francis MacDonald Cornford (1874-1963), 1909, in charcoal and red chalk, 33.5 x 28.5cm; and Frances Crofts Cornford (1886-1960), daughter of Sir Francis Darwin, undated, in charcoal, 25.5. x 35.5cm.
Conditions Governing Access:
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