Skip to page content

Wallace advises his son on collecting animals

Wallace advises his son on collecting animals (page 1)

Catalogue number: WP1/1/162

Letter from Wallace to his son William giving advice on how to trap small animals whilst on a trip to America, December 1898.

Wallace's son William was staying on a ranch in America. Wallace gives advice on the best way to make traps to catch small animals. The 'jar or pitcher (cracked) sunk into the ground' is a typical pit-fall trap that students still use to study ground insects.

Wallace encouraged his son to collect animals to earn extra money by selling them to the British Museum. He also asks for lots of details about the ranch. 'Are there no chipmunks or squirrels or muskrats, or rabbits, or prairie-dogs about?' Wallace had an ever-enquiring mind, a passion for nature and the need to know every detail about what treasures a new location might hold.

William spent some time travelling and working around America with a friend. As a trained engineer, he paid his way by wiring telegraph poles.

Search this collection
Contact us

For enquiries about the Wallace Collection please email the library

Wallace Letters Online

Letter to Alfred Russel Wallace from the Royal Society, about his Darwin Medal award

View high resolution scans and transcripts of Alfred Russel Wallace's correspondence, including all surviving letters between him and Charles Darwin.

Explore Wallace's correspondence