Anne Darwin

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Annie Darwin
Annie's grave in Great Malvern

Anne Elizabeth "Annie" Darwin (2 March 184122 April 1851) was the second child and eldest daughter of Charles and Emma Darwin. According to biographers, she was a delightful child who brought much happiness to her parents. Eminent Darwin scholar E. Janet Browne writes of her:

Anne was .. the apple of her proud father's eye, his favourite child, he confessed to [his friend and cousin William Darwin] Fox. More than any of the other children she treated him with a spontaneous affection that touched him deeply; she liked to smooth his hair and pat his clothes into shape, and was by nature self-absorbedly neat and tidy, cutting out delicate bits of paper to put away in her workbox, threading ribbons, and sewing small things for her dolls and make-believe worlds.[1]

In 1849, Anne caught scarlet fever along with her two sisters,[2] and her health thereafter declined; some authorities believe that she suffered from tuberculosis. In vain pursuit of help from Gully's water cure, Charles Darwin took his daughter to the Worcestershire spa town, Great Malvern. She died in Montreal House on the Worcester Road, and is buried in the Priory Church yard.

Her death at age ten was a terrible blow for both Charles and Emma. Charles wrote in a letter, "We have lost the joy of the household, and the solace of our old age ... Oh that she could now know how deeply, how tenderly we do still & and shall ever love her dear joyous face."[3].

Around 2000, Charles Darwin's great-great-grandson Randal Keynes discovered "Annie's Box" containing keepsakes collected by Charles and Emma. He wrote a book with this material.


  1. ^ Brown 1995, 499
  2. ^ Brown 1995, 498
  3. ^ Quoted in Browne 1995, 501.