For decades available only to scholars at Cambridge University Library, the private papers of Charles Darwin can now be seen by anyone online and free of charge at: http://darwin-online.org.uk/. This is the largest ever publication of Darwin papers and manuscripts, totalling about 20,000 items in nearly 90,000 electronic images.

This vast and varied collection of papers includes the first draft of his theory of evolution, notes from the voyage of the Beagle and Emma Darwin’s recipe book.

We are extremely grateful for the kind permission of Cambridge University Library to reproduce these online. Darwin Online was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and is based at the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH)