Robert Darwin

Robert Darwin

American doctor
Date of Birth: 30.05.1766
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Robert Darwin
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. Medical Practice and Reputation
  4. Financial Investments and Marriage
  5. Later Years
  6. Robert was one of the first to describe the phenomenon of afterimage.

Biography of Robert Darwin

Early Life and Education

Robert Waring Darwin, an American physician and representative of the influential Darwin-Wedgwood family, was born on May 30, 1766, in Lichfield. He was named after his uncle, the botanist Robert Waring Darwin of Elston. After the death of his mother Mary Howard in 1770, Robert was cared for by his governess, Mary Parker, who later became the mistress of his father, Erasmus Darwin. She gave birth to two illegitimate daughters of Erasmus.

Robert Darwin

In 1783, Robert began studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh, where he resided with the Scottish professor of chemistry, Joseph Black. He was then sent by his father to Leiden University in the Netherlands, where he earned his medical degree on February 26, 1785. His doctoral thesis was of such high quality that it was published in the scientific journal 'Philosophical Transactions'. However, there is an opinion that his father Erasmus actively helped him with its writing. During his time at the University of Edinburgh, Robert acquired knowledge from several leading scientists, including naturalist John Walker. He was elected a member of the Royal Society on February 21, 1788.

Robert Darwin

Medical Practice and Reputation

At the age of 20, Robert opened his medical practice in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. According to family history, his father brought him there, giving him 20 pounds sterling and saying, "Let me know if you need more, and I will send it." His uncle also gave him the same amount, which proved to be sufficient. With his tall and slim figure, Robert attracted attention when the condition of a bookseller's wife from Wellington worsened. She was being treated by a doctor from the county hospital who happened to be away for a few days, and Robert was called to assist. Unfortunately, the patient died, and the question arose: which of the two doctors should be blamed for her death? In order to defend himself, the young doctor quickly published a pamphlet with an explanatory article, accusing his colleague of treating the woman for an illness she did not have. This doctor soon moved to another place. Within six months, Robert, who had earned a good reputation, had around 40-50 patients. He lived on St. John's Hill for about 2-3 years before moving to the Crescent. He later regretted his impulsive action and spent a lot of time buying and burning all copies of the pamphlet.

Financial Investments and Marriage

With a small inheritance from his mother and aunt, Robert invested his savings in real estate. He acquired full ownership rights to several buildings in Shrewsbury and began receiving rental income. Robert became the main shareholder of the Trent and Mersey Canal. In addition, he invested money in the development of the road from London to Holyhead, built by Thomas Telford.

On April 18, 1796, Robert married Susannah, the beloved daughter of artist-ceramist and designer Josiah Wedgwood, a close friend of Robert's father. Josiah had passed away before the wedding in January 1795, leaving his daughter an inheritance of £25,000. With this money, the couple purchased land overlooking the River Severn, where they built a large red brick house around 1800. All six of their children, including the world-renowned Charles Darwin, were born here.

Later Years

Robert, who was thin in his youth, grew to weigh 153 kg with a height of 1.88 m. After that, he simply stopped weighing himself. Darwin refused to enter someone else's house until his coachman checked the strength of the stairs. Not only did he use special stone steps to get into his carriage, but he also had them installed in his own home.

Robert was one of the first to describe the phenomenon of afterimage.