Darwin’s publications resulting from his work as a naturalist on the surveying voyage of H.M.S. Beagle included three books on geology. They were published separately over a period of five years but were intended, and were described on their title pages, as parts of a single work. The libraries was already holding the first (The structure and distribution of coral reefs. Being the first part…, London, 1842) and the third (Geological observation on South America. Being the third part…, London, 1846). These works both individually and collectively are seminal to many issues in modern geological studies.
The Libraries' 2009 exhibition honoring the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of On the origin of species features all three of the geological volumes and their maps and illustrations. Only thirty five libraries in the United States list the 1844 edition of Volcanic islands in their collection.—Leslie Overstreet and Liz O’Brien