Artefact of the month - November 2008
ZSL Fellowship Certificate of Charles Darwin, 1831
This month’s artefact is Charles Darwin's application to become a member of the Zoological Society of London.
Darwin was elected initially as a Corresponding Member in November 1831, shortly before he left for the famous voyage of exploration on HMS Beagle in December 1831. He became a full Fellow of ZSL later on.
Applications for Fellowship had to be proposed and seconded by Fellows of ZSL; in this case they were mostly members of ZSL Council. Darwin himself later served on Council (1839-1841). The signatures include that of the President of ZSL, Lord Stanley.
The application forms of successful candidates were bound together in books and are referred to as Fellowship Certificates. We have them for the years 1829-1831 and 1870-1988.