Impressions from a Lost World: The Discovery of Dinosaur Footprints

Charles Darwin's Letter to Edward Hitchcock, November 6, 1845

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Charles Darwin wrote Edward Hitchcock to thank him for sending a copy of the 1841 Final Report on the Geology of Massachusetts. Darwin was especially interested in Hitchcock's alluvial deposits, because Louis Agassiz's theory of a former glacial age that had left such deposits behind was a topic of considerable debate. Strikingly, Darwin predicted that the fossil footprints would make Hitchcock's name in history. The date of the letter suggests that he had followed the priority dispute between Hitchcock and James Deane in the pages of the American Journal of Science, or had had word of it, and discreetly sought to reassure Hitchcock of his respect.

Charles Darwin
November 6, 1845
Courtesy of:
Edward and Orra White Hitchcock Papers, Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library