We may have Charles Darwin's children to thank for the surviving handwritten pages of the naturalist's "On the Origin of Species" manuscript. Most of the original 600 pages are lost, and of the 45 pages that exist today, many were repurposed by Darwin's brood of 10 children as art supplies.

"Darwin was done with those pages — he was throwing away sections of his draft and not caring about it because the book was published," said Darwin Manuscripts Project Director David Kohn.

February 12, 2015 is the 206th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, known to many as Darwin Day. Today, over twenty-six thousand pages of Darwin's writings on evolution have been digitized through the Museum's Darwin Manuscripts Project. These high-resolution and color images include manuscript pages, drawings, book abstracts, and other writings, complete with transcriptions that decipher the famous naturalist's handwriting. By June 2015, the Museum will host more than 30,000 digitized documents written by Darwin between 1835 and 1882.


Scroll down to check out some of the imaginative works of Darwin's kids, and read more about them in a story from the New Yorker.

Pages of Charles Darwin's notes were used as canvases for his children's doodles.


Images courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History and Cambridge University Library.