Darwin, manuscript title page
Darwin sent this handwritten title page for On the Origin of Species to his friend Charles Lyell to ask his opinion of it. Darwin liked the phrase “natural selection” because it echoed “artificial selection”—a term that described what dog and pigeon breeders did when using controlled mating to produce desired traits. In his book, Darwin argued that nature (through natural selection) could do the same over millions of years.
About the Title:
The final, full title for the first five editions of Darwin’s now-famous book was On the Origin of Species through Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. The term “Races” did not refer to human “races,” but rather to what we would now call species (of both plants and animals). Beginning with the sixth edition, published in 1872, the title was simplified to The Origin of Species.
Charles Darwin (1809–1882). Draft of title page for On the Origin of Species, sent with letter to Charles Lyell, March 28, 1859.