Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, and the 12th of February

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It is striking that two men, as great in the eyes of history as Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin, would be born on the same day. Yet, on 12 February 1809, both Lincoln and Darwin indeed entered the world. You may expect that Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (London: John Murray, 1859) would be amongst the collections of the Clark Library. And you would be correct.

Darwin, On the Origin of Species (1859)

Though less expected, our other celebrated birthday fellow is also represented in the library’s collections. The Clark has two documents signed by Abraham Lincoln during his presidency of the United States, including a pardon of a Mr. James S. Stull on, of all days, President Lincoln’s 55th birthday, 12 February 1864.

Lincoln pardon of James S. Stull

Whether for science, society, or a pardon for an unknown wrong, the 12th of February seems like a day to celebrate.

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