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On the Origin of Vestiges: Science, Religion, and the Natural World in Early Victorian Scotland

November 19, 2014, 3:00 pm

Angela Smith

The lecture

Fifteen years before Charles Darwin’s famous Origin of Species helped convert most naturalists to the idea of transmutation, the evolutionary treatise Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation ‘prepared the ground’—with no name on the title page. Vestiges was read and discussed by tens of thousands of people in both Britain and America, including most prominent men of science, Prince Albert, Queen Victoria, and the future President Abraham Lincoln, creating, as historian James Secord has demonstrated, quite a ‘Victorian sensation.’ Unlike Origin, though, Vestiges presented a religious cosmology more so than a scientific theory, and its author argued that his main intention had been to show that “the mode” of God’s working was only through natural law. Though practically written out of popular history by Darwin’s success, much of what the early Victorians believed about evolution came from the mysterious “Mr. Vestiges,” the Scotsman Robert Chambers.

The lecture will be held in the Linda Hall Library Auditorium. The lecture begins at 3:00 p.m.

The speaker

Angela Smith is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of Texas at Austin and a 2014 Research Fellow at the Linda Hall Library.


The event is free and open to the public; however, e-tickets are required.


Parking is free in Library parking lots and along the west side of Holmes Street between 51st and 52nd streets. The main entrance to the Library grounds is on Cherry Street. The Linda Hall Library is not affiliated with UMKC. Parking in all UMKC lots is by permit or meter.


November 19, 2014
3:00 pm
Event Category:


Eric Ward
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Linda Hall Library
5109 Cherry
Kansas City, MO 64110 United States
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Questions? Contact Eric Ward at 816.926.8753 for more information about these events.

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