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Record number: WCP2347

Sent by:
Thomas Spencer Baynes
Sent to:
Alfred Russel Wallace
22 February 1877

Sent by Thomas Spencer Baynes, St Andrews, Scotland to Alfred Russel Wallace, [Rose Hill, Dorking] on 22 February 1877.

Record created:
30 November 2011 by Mayer, Anna


No summary available at this time.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP2347.2237)

A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
British Library, The
Finding number:
BL Add. 46435 ff. 365-366
Copyright owner:
Copyright of the Thomas Spencer Baynes Literary Estate.

Physical description

Transcription information




Encyclopedia Britannica2, 3

Edinburgh S[ain]t. Andrews.4

22. Feb[ruary]. 18775

Dear Sir,

May I ask whether you could undertake an article on Distribution (of life animal & vegetable)6 in time & space for the new edition of the Ency[clopedia]: Britannica. The article should I suppose give in outline (so far as our knowledge goes) the chief zones and Eras[?] of life on the Globe, with the conditions & forms[?] of existence[?] of each period. It must of course [[2]] be a mere sketch, but as it is a subject you have[?] precisely[?] studied[?] you might be able to give such a sketch without much difficulty. On hearing from you I will write more in detail. But as the matter[?] rather[?] presses[?] I should be obliged of an answer at your early convenience.

Very truly yours | Th[oma]s: S Baynes7, 8 [signature]

Alfred R. Wallace Esq[uire].


1. Text in another hand at the top right of the page reads "365".

2. The printed text "Encyclopedia Britannica" is placed in the top left of the page and text in another hand, written across it, reads "Answ[ere]d.".

3. The Encyclopedia Britannica is the oldest english language encyclopedia still being produced. It was first published in 1768 and 1771 in Edinburgh and the 9th edition (1875-1889), to which Wallace contributed, was noted for its scholarship and literary style. Wikipedia.

4. In 1864, Baynes was appointed to the chair of logic, metaphysics and English literature at the University of Saint Andrews, a post he held until his death. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

5. The date is written on a printed dotted line adjacent to the text "Edinburgh". The digits "187" are printed.

6. Wallace contributed information on the Distribution of Animal Life, while William Turner Thiselton-Dyer (1843-1928) wrote on the Distribution of Vegetable Life. Wallace A. R., and Thiselton-Dyer, T., (1875-1889). Distribution in Encyclopedia Britannica, Adam and Charles Black, Edinburgh, 9th edition, 25 vols. Vol 7, pp. 267-286 by Wallace; pp. 286-290 by Thiselton-Dyer. S286, The Alfred Russel Wallace Page <http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/index1.htm> [accessed 1 June 2015].

7. Baynes, Thomas Spencer (1823-1887). Editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica from 1873. ODNB.

8. There is a British Museum stamp in red ink below the signature.

Please note that work on this transcript is not yet complete. Users are advised to study electronic image(s) of this document, if available.