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Wallace and the Croydon Natural History Society

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Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society [headed note paper]
                                                     2 Friends Rd.
                                                          Croydon
                                                       7 February 1913
A.R. Wallace Esq., O.M.
Dear Sir,
               Thank you very much for your kind reply to my letter.
Since writing I have delved further onto our records & I
venture to send you a few notes on your connection with this
Society.
   The first mentions of your name appears to be in the Proceedings
for 1878 where it is recorded that at our 9th. Annual Soiree held
on 6 Nov. 1878 you exhibited butterflies from the Malay Archipelago,
including Kallina from Sumatra. You were elected as a member
in Feb. 1879, and took part in discussions at our Monthly meetings
in March & November of that year.
    In January 1880 you seconded a motion by the Rev. E.M. Geldart
which by omitting the masculine pronoun from the Rule allowing a
member to introduce a visitor at the meetings would have paved
the way for the admission of lady visitors. The motion was very
fully discussed but on being put to the meeting was lost by a great
majority (about 80 votes to 15)! You therefore gave notice that at
the following meeting you would move the following addition to
the Rules:- "That the reader of the paper be allowed the privilege of
having lady visitors introduced on the occasion when his paper
is read, on announcing his wish at the previous meeting".
In February you supported this motion in a speech of considerable
length and Dr Carpenter seconded it. After a lengthy debate

Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society [headed note paper]

this seemingly harmless motion was put to the meeting and negatived by a huge majority (only 9 votes in favour)!!
  The leaven, however, has worked, we not only have lady
visitors but have had lady members for many years past;
and I am glad to say that at our annual meeting last month
a lady was for the first time elected for the Council -and
this without any fuss or feeling; though an innovation it was
felt to be a natural & fitting one & there was no opposition.
   To return to your own work, in March 1880 you read a paper
on the "Peculiar Species of the Brit. Fauna & Flora" and of this a
3 page report appears in the Transactions. In Nov. 1880 you took
part in a discussion on "Colourization in Animals" and your views
on that question occupy nearly 2 pages of the Proceedings.
At the Soiree in Nov. 1880 you exhibited a collection of objects of
Malay manufacture, and I suppose it must have been very soon
after that you left Croydon as I find no later mention of your name.
    Please do not trouble to reply to this. I am proud to belong
to a Society with which you were associated in such an interesting
way, & I thought you might be pleased to have "old times"
recalled, especially in view of the good fruit borne by your
pioneering work in the cause of women.
                              Believe me
                                   Yours very truly
                                          Frank M. Roberts
                                                             Hon. Sec.



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