"The sole object of this work is to consider, firstly, whether man, like every other species, is descended from some pre-existing form; secondly, the manner of his development; and thirdly, the value of the differences between the so-called races of man..."
"During many years it has seemed to me highly probable that sexual selection has played an important part in differentiating the races of man; but in my Origin of Species I contented myself by merely alluding to this belief. When I came to apply this view to man, I found it indispensable to treat the whole subject in full detail." -Charles Darwin
FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE (one of only 2500 copies) of Darwin's seminal work on the evolution of man. THE WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST COPY, in stunning Bayntun bindings.
"This is really two works. The first demolished the theory that the universe was created for Man, while in the second Darwin presented a mass of evidence in support of his earlier hypothesis regarding sexual selection... In the Origin, Darwin had avoided discussing the place occupied by homo sapiens in the scheme of natural selection, stating only that `light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.' Twelve years later he made good his promise with The Descent of Man, in which he compared man's physical and psychological characteristics to similar traits in apes and other animals, showing how even man's mind and moral sense could have developed through evolutionary processes. In discussing man's ancestry, Darwin did not claim that man was directly descended from apes as we know them today, but stated simply that the extent ancestors of homo sapiens would have to be classified among the primates; however, this statement, as misinterpreted by the popular press, caused a furor second only to that raised by the Origin" (Norman 599). "The word `evolution' occurs, for the first time in any of Darwin's works, on page 2 of the first volume of the first edition" (Freeman, p.129).
First issue, with second volume with errata on verso of title and Postscript leaf tipped in after Contents.
Provenance: The William Randolph Hearst copy, with early documentation and his library shelf tags on rear endpapers. The legendary publisher William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951) spent lavishly on art and books early in his career, creating one of the great private libraries in the United States. By the late 1930s, however, he was awash in debt and forced to sell many of his beloved artworks and books:
"In 1937, more than $125 million in debt, he lost control of his holdings. Clarence John Shearn of Chase National Bank began getting rid of the unprofitable media and real estate. Hearst’s reckless spending on art, another source of his problem, was stopped. He agreed to sell two-thirds of his art collection and stopped construction on San Simeon. Hearst collections that had not reached California were offered to the public. For several years, the sale of his artworks in a New York department store filled more floor space than Hearst had built at La Casa Grande. Of the forty-two papers that he had bought or established, only seventeen remained by 1940." (American National Biography).
This copy was sold in 1940 when Hearst was in the process of liquidating his assets and includes the original sales receipt from the department store Marshall Field from February 20, 1940, noting that the Descent of Man was from the "W.R. Hearst Collection", along with a typed description with the Marshall Field inventory number.
London: John Murray, 1871. Octavo, superb rich crushed crimson morocco by Bayntun with decorated spines and boards, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt. Two volumes. With half-titles in each volume. Bound without ads. Almost invisible hair-line scratch on front board, otherwise remarkably fine.
AN ABSOLUTELY STUNNING SET IN NEARLY PERFECT CONDITION WITH A NOTABLE PROVENANCE.
Price: $8,500 .