Questions of collaboration and credit in D’Arcy Thompson’s 'On Growth and Form'

The first edition of Thompson’s famous book ‘On Growth and Form’ appeared in 1917. It has subsequently been regarded as a foundational work in mathematical biology and a revolutionary contribution to the field of morphology. Most existing literature credits Thompson as a lone genius who produced the 793 pages of the 1917 edition and 1116 pages of the 1942 edition. Thompson’s correspondence presents a very different picture of this tome as one arising from extensive and ongoing – perhaps sometimes unwitting? – collaboration.