Charles Darwin's personal finances revealed in new find

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Historians at Cambridge unearthed a series of six financial record books which reveal intriguing insights into the naturalist's day-to-day college life.

They show that Darwin, who studied at Christ's College between 1828 and 1831, lived the life of a 19th century gentleman and paid people to carry out tasks such as stoking his fire and polishing his shoes.

He also paid extra to buy vegetables to supplement his college meals, the records show.

Darwin's college bills amounted to £636.0.91/2 over three years - not including £14 he paid for his BA degree in 1831 and £12 he spent collecting an MA in 1836.

The books also contain accounts for the barber, chimney-sweep, apothecary [pharmacist], porter, brazier [who looked after the fires], glazier, hatter, laundress, linen-draper and painter, among others.

This year marks the 250th anniversary of the publication of Darwin's landmark work On the Origin of Species.

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Donald Wolberg - 3/25/2009

We celebrate the 200th year since Darwin's birth (Feb. 12, 1809) and the 150th since the publilation of the "Origin of Species," interestingly a best seller that rapidly sold out.

If anything, Darwin was a dedicated records and note taker and keeper, as well as engaged in business, as was his father.

Gary Ostrower - 3/25/2009

Well, 150th anniversary.