Letters from the Library

"Letters from the Library" is a series of notes written by Edgardo Civallero, library coordinator, about the contents of the Charles Darwin Foundation library & archive.

These notes are inspired by what Edgardo finds among boxes, shelves and old documents: photographs, notebooks, artifacts, reports, slides, maps… All of them, even the smallest ones, are an essential part of the identity and social memory of the Charles Darwin Foundation. These notes give us a look at the history of science and society in the Galapagos Islands at the time they were written or photographed.

In the following articles, you will be able to enjoy a story built bit by bit, step by step.

The CDF Archive has an audiovisual section that, while not extensive, is rich in content. It is a collection that includes hundreds of photographs, slides from all eras (with glass, metal, plastic and cardboard frames), negatives, proof prints, films and videos in all the formats produced by the industry —including a few rolls of the infamous cellulose nitrate—, audio cassettes, and the magnetic and optical media that are more familiar to the new generations: floppy disks, ZIP disks, CDs and DVDs.

It was a postcard. It appeared inside one of several boxes of old papers that someone decided to discard at the CDF and, therefore, came first to my hands to check if there was something useful or valuable for the archive. And there was plenty of that. Virtually everything there was interesting material... although most of the documents were seriously damaged by humidity, dirt, insects and other living things — as the pair of geckoes that came out of the boxes as soon as I opened them.

The history of bathroom reading is a history still to be written.

I speak of "history" because I assume that, from that glorious moment in the past when humans invented the toilet or some similar device in which to sit down, the need to read appeared. Simply to pass time. I would like to add that, long before that (or perhaps in parallel), reading materials used as entertainment during that natural physiological process had a complementary use as personal hygiene elements. Or, at least, that's what oral tradition says.

Page 3 of 3

Support our work in the Galapagos

Our work is only possible thanks to our generous donors' support.
Your gift contributes directly to our scientists' work at the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Help us protect Galapagos!
Donations in the US are tax deductible.

Sign up to the latest news

* required

Sign up to the latest news

* required

The ‘Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands’, in French ‘Fondacion Charles Darwin  pour les Iles Galapagos’, Association Internationale sans but lucrative (AISBL), has its registered office at Avenue Louise 54, 1050 Brussels, Belgium. Trade Registry # 0409.359.103

© 2023 Charles Darwin Foundation. All rights reserved.