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Online collection

Gain insight into Wallace's life and work by exploring the online collection using the themes below.

  • Architecture
    Architecture

    Not only was Wallace a great naturalist, he also had superb draughtsman skills. His great attention to detail is revealed in these architectural drawings and plans.

  • Biography
    Biography

    Find out Wallace’s thoughts on the medals and degrees awarded to him, his work as a lecturer and his experiences while touring North America.

  • Collecting
    Collecting

    What was the life of a nineteenth-century collector really like? Find out how Wallace survived a sinking ship, trekked through the rainforest, and made an epic journey across the Malay Archipelago.

  • Evolution
    Evolution

    Wallace was the co-discoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection. He went on to give lectures on natural selection and Darwinism, but what did he really think of Charles Darwin?

  • Family
    Family

    Wallace’s letters reveal a devoted family man with a great sense of humour. You can also browse Wallace family photographs.

  • Naturalist
    Naturalist

    As the ‘father of biogeography’ Wallace’s letters share his ideas on animal distribution and reveal a general love of the natural world.

  • Social issues
    Social issues

    Wallace was forthright in voicing his opinions, whether popular or not. His letters reveal a committed socialist, an advocate of land nationalisation and a man who opposed militarism.

  • Why are the collections important?
    Spiritualism

    Wallace embraced spiritualism, as did many Victorians. His letters describe his experiences at séances, suggesting reasons why a scientific man would be attracted to such a movement.

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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

Explore over 3,800 letters written and received by Alfred Russel Wallace, including iconic correspondence with Charles Darwin.

Go to Wallace Letters Online