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Francis Darwin Janet Browne, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London, UK (1848 – 1925) British botanist and editor of his father Charles Darwin’s letters and papers. Introductory article Francis Darwin (known as Frank) was the third son of Charles Darwin, the naturalist. He was educated at Clapham Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge. He then studied medicine at St George’s Hospital, London, taking his MD in 1875 but never practising. After studying plant physiology with Julius Sachs in Wurtzburg in 1876, he returned later in 1876 to act as Charles Darwin’s secretary and assistant. At first he lived nearby, but after the death of his wife Amy Ruck in childbirth he moved into his parents’ house with the baby (Bernard Meirion Darwin). He helped materially with Charles Darwin’s later work on insectivorous plants, twinning plants and the cross-fertilization of plants. When Charles Darwin died, Francis moved to Cambridge, where he became a university lecturer and eventually reader in botany. He married Ellen Wordsworth Crofts, lecturer at Newnham College; she died in 1903, leaving a daughter. After some years he married Florence Fisher, widow of F.W. Maitland. During this time he established himself as an eloquent editor of his father’s papers. He edited the Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, published as three volumes in 1887, which included a chapter of reminiscences collected from his brothers and sisters; More Letters with A.C. Seward (in 1903); a onevolume Life (in 1892); and his father’s two early essays on evolution by natural selection, The Foundations of the Origin of Species, published in 1909. He also worked in his own right on the physiology of plants, pushing forward the study of living responses to light and gravity. With E.H. Acton he published The Practical Physiology of Plants in 1894. Francis Darwin was a naturally expressive writer. His Rustic Sounds and then Springtime (published in 1917 and 1920) reveal his good humour and love of the countryside. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1882 and knighted in 1913. Further Reading Darwin F (ed.) (1887) The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Including an Autobiographical Chapter. 3 vols. London: John Murray. Darwin F and Seward AC (eds.) (1903) More Letters of Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. Darwin F (ed.) (1909) The Foundations of the Origin of Species, Two Essays Written in 1842 and 1844. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Darwin F (1917) Rustic Sounds and Other Studies in Literature and Natural History. London: John Murray. Darwin F (1920) Springtime and Other Essays. London: John Murray. Darwin F (ed.) (1888) Insectivorous Plants by Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. Darwin F (1894) Practical Physiology of Plants. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Darwin F (1895) Elements of Botany. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ENCYCLOPEDIA OF LIFE SCIENCES / & 2001 Nature Publishing Group / www.els.net 1