James Andrew Secord (born 18 March 1953) is an American-born historian. He is a professor of history and philosophy of science within the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge,[1] and a fellow of Christ's College.[2] He is also the director (since 2006) of the project to publish the complete Correspondence of Charles Darwin.[3] Secord is especially well known for his award-winning work on the reception of the anonymous Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, a pioneering evolutionary book first published in 1844.

Education and Career

Secord was born in Madison, Wisconsin. After attending Pomona College, he received a Fulbright–Hays grant to study in the United Kingdom.[4] He completed his Ph.D. in the history of science at Princeton University (1976–81). His dissertation was entitled "Cambria/Siluria: The Anatomy of a Victorian Geological Debate" and his adviser was Charles Coulston Gillispie.[5] After postdoctoral fellowships at University College London and at Churchill College in Cambridge, he taught history of science at Imperial College from 1985 to 1992.[6] In 1992 he began teaching in Cambridge.



Secord's first book, based upon his Ph.D. research, was Controversy in Victorian Geology: The Cambrian-Silurian Dispute (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986). He followed it with Victorian Sensation: The Extraordinary Publication, Reception, and Secret Authorship of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), which was awarded the Pfizer Prize by the History of Science Society for best book in history of science, 2002.[7] His most recent book was Visions of Science: Books and Readers at the Dawn of the Victorian Age (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014).[8] He has also edited numerous volumes and been a contributor to many more.

Articles and book chapters


  1. ^ "People". Department of History and Philosophy of Science. University of Cambridge. 20 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Professor Jim Secord | Christs College Cambridge".
  3. ^ "Who we are". Darwin Correspondence Project. University of Cambridge. 3 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Secord Awarded Fulbright Grant". The Capital Times. June 6, 1978. p. 27. Retrieved March 2, 2020 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  5. ^ "Doctoral Degrees Awarded". School of History. Princeton University.
  6. ^ Hannah Gay, History of Imperial College London, 1907-2007, (London: Imperial College Press, 2007), 573.
  7. ^ "Pfizer Award". History of Science Society. History of Science Society.
  8. ^ "Books by James A. Secord". Books. University of Chicago Press.
  9. ^ "Isis CB Explore". Isis Current Bibliography. History of Science.