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Darwin banner. On the left side is Charles Darwin, circa 1880. On the right side are the words: Rewriting the Book of Nature: Charles Darwin and the Rise of Evolutionary Theory

On February 12, 1809, Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England. Fifty years later, on November 24, 1859, Darwin's On the Origin of Species, one of the most influential scientific books ever written, went on sale to the public.

Radical in sweep, Darwin's theory of naturally innovating and endlessly changing webs of life laid bare the deep connections within the living world. Darwin rewrote the book of nature and forced us to rethink humankind's own place within it. One hundred and 50 years later, we still struggle to comprehend the world that Darwin made.

To mark the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his groundbreaking work, the National Library of Medicine, in collaboration with the Office of NIH History, presents a small exhibition, "Rewriting the Book of Nature: Charles Darwin & the Rise of Evolutionary Theory." The public is invited to this thought-provoking display, which includes a rare first edition of On the Origin of Species and other important books by Darwin, Darwin photos and letters, and works by the great naturalist's predecessors, contemporaries, and successors.

The exhibition, inside and outside the NLM History of Medicine Division Reading Room, Building 38, first floor, runs from February 9 to July 2, 2009, and from September 3 to December 31, 2009. All are welcome to visit, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM weekdays, except federal holidays.

Directions, security, parking, etc.: For more information: Michael Sappol,, 301.594.0348.

Individuals who need Sign Language Interpreters and/or reasonable accommodation for their visit should contact Melanie Modlin,, 301.496.7771.

Bryum Moss with Reproductive Organs. In Henry C. Chapman, Evolution of Life. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1873, opposite p. 83. Rare Book Collection, National Library of Medicine.
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species (London: John Murray, 1859), title page. Rare Book Collection, National Library of Medicine
A Case of Mimicry: Poisonous and Non-Poisonous Snakes. In George J. Romanes, Darwinism Illustrated; Wood-Engravings Explanatory of the Theory of Evolution. Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1892, p. 85. Rare Book Collection, National Library of Medicine.

Last reviewed: 10 February 2009
Last updated: 10 February 2009
First published: 10 February 2009
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