I've just been reading The Violinist's Thumb by Sam Kean and it was fascinating to learn that many of Mendel's papers were burned after his death. In a world with internet his research might have been harder to destroy.
It's interesting that, contrasted with his belligerent stance on the church and taxes, he was humble about what he'd discovered. When asked about the uniformity of his pea plants by a visitor he reportedly described it as "just a little trick".
It's worth remembering that Mendel did try to contact Darwin -- he sent a copy of his famous paper to him -- whether in response to this call or just because Darwin was the most famous living biologist at the time. Unfortunately, the copy found in Darwin's library has its pages uncut, suggesting that he never got around to reading it.
Thank you jhbadger, I thought I had read somewhere that Mendel was in Darwin's library but was beginning to think I dreamed it.
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