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Photographic proof print of a redwood tree

Photographic proof print of a redwood tree

Catalogue number: WP6/6/5(2)

Photographic proof print of a redwood tree for Wallace's book Studies Scientific and Social, undated, circa 1900.

This black and white photographic proof print shows an enormous redwood tree (Sequoia sempervirens) with one large and two smaller trunks. The annotations are by Wallace, in preparation for his book Studies Scientific and Social (published in 1900).

The book was made up mainly of reprints of important articles written by Wallace over the 35 years from 1865 to 1899. As the title suggests, this covered a broad range of topics that held Wallace's interest, for example geology, animal and plant distribution, anthropology and evolution.

Wallace explains that the trees were once present all the way along the coast of north and central California, but only a grove is preserved near Santa Cruz. 'The largest tree being 296 feet high, 29 feet diameter at the ground, and 15 feet at 6 feet above it. One of these trees having a triple trunk is figured here from a photograph.'

The photograph appears in volume one, chapter ten 'Flowers and Forests of the Far West' (fig. 50, page 233). The original paper was published in Fortnightly Review (December 1891). Wallace first became interested in redwood trees following a lecture tour of North America between 1886 and 1887. During this time he visited California and saw the trees for himself.

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