In 2004, a fascinating set of minor pre-Darwinian evolutionists that Charles Darwin wrote of in his prefatory Historical Sketch
in On the Origin of Species were the center of our attention. In 2005, we made our way through the private notebooks of Charles Darwin
, which were begun shortly after his return from the voyage of the Beagle. In 2006, we investigated the open question of whether Charles Lyell
was a convert to evolutionist views prior to the publication of the On the Origin of Species. In 2008, we examined the geological and evolutionary writings of Lamarck
. In 2009, we read the first book ever published on evolution, Telliamed (1748), by Benoit de Maillet. Participants in this reading group come from diverse backgrounds and include biology, geology, environmental studies, museum studies, and anthropology graduate students. We meet once a month over dinner and discuss the readings chosen for that semester. This series of graduate seminars represents my effort to cull the early evolutionist literature and historiography of this important period in the development of evolutionary thought.