The Study of Sociology by Herbert Spencer

A copy of The Study of Sociology by Herbert Spencer, £35,000 at Forum Auctions.

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More importantly it is a presentation copy given by Spencer to Charles Darwin.

Spencer and Darwin were occasional correspondents and would regularly send each other copies of their latest works. The relationship between Spencer and Darwin is best-remembered for Spencer’s coining of the phrase “survival of the fittest” which Darwin would then borrow for his Variation of Animals and Plants and the fifth and subsequent editions of On the Origin of Species.

In The Study of Sociology, Spencer cites Darwin several times in his book and singles out Origin of Species as one of the most influential scientific publications of recent times.

The presentation inscription to the head of the title page simply reads “Charles Darwin with the author’s kind regards”.

Included in the lots was a letter from Edward Darwin, gifting the book to a relative.

Books from Darwin’s own library are rare to the market and this one, that came by descent in the Cornford family, was competed way past its estimate of £1000-1500 at Forum Auctions in London on March 30. The hammer price was £35,000.