Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP277

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Violet Isabel Wallace
1 November 1896

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Parkstone, Dorset, to Violet Isabel Wallace [address not recorded] on 1 November 1896.

Record created:
01 June 2002 by Lucas, Paula J.


Re. lectures on children's education by American visitor Mrs Stetson at Parkstone and Poole, her popularity, relationship to Harriet Beecher Stowe, and poetry; talks with her on poetry, socialism and Weisman's theory; death of "the Bounder" from typhoid fever.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP277.277)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/2/76
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Parkstone, Dorset.

Novr. 1st. 1896

My dear Violet

After a great deal of trouble & correspondence about lectures for Mrs. Stetson, I applied to Mr. Kelly & he suggested that we should take the Small School Room & send out circulars to about 200 people in Parkstone & Poole. Mr. Carter guaranteed to make up any loss & we fixed the first for Saturday Oct. 24th. Mrs. S. came down in the afternoon and made herself at home in five minutes, I took the chair & introduced her mentioning that Mrs. Harriett Beecher Stowe was her great Aunt & that from the Beecher family she inherited [[2]] her facility of public speaking &c. She gave us a lecture or talk on "Our Brains & what Ails Them" a most original & interesting theory of the utterly bad (usually) home education of children compared with the thorough & practised training people get in their business or profession, illustrating it all with amusing anecdotes as she went along & never wanting for a word or an idea. We had an audientce of about 50 (at 1/-- & 6d) and a short discussion afterward but nobody seemed able to say a word against anything she said. [[3]] We cleared ₤3.14 for the two lectures which was more than she had got anywhere in England.1 In America she has ₤5. to ₤10 a lecture.] On Monday a parson & his wife from Poole called on her to consult her about the education of their children! Which pleased her much. She has one girl of about 13 or 14, brought up from infancy on her own principles & a great success! After the lecture I asked whether the Audience wished to hear her again, -- & they all did & most of them promised to come & let friends know, so we announced the next lecture for Tuesday -- on "What Forces Make Us" -- which came off with an Audience of about 70.-- & almost all of them wanted to hear her again, but as she had an engagement in London for [[4]] Friday & is going back to America in about 10 days it could not be arranged. We had five talks chiefly on Weismanns theory & on Socialism, Poetry &c. She recited one of her latest unpublished poems, & also a second one of Kipling on the Sea being taken up to Heaven at the request of the jolly Mariners -- a grand bit. I bought 3 copies of her Poems & send you one. You will see how original & suggestive they all are and some are poetic gems. The American Edition wh[ich] she is going to send me has more in it. "Similar Cases" -- was one of the first she wrote. She is now 36, & looks older than her portrait of course, but when animated in her lectures is very like it. The poor "Bounder" is dead of Typhoid fever! I never felt the loss of any personally unknown person so much! Let us know how the bike works.

Your affectionate Pa | A. R. Wallace [signature]

August No. of Fortnightly cannot be found at present.2


1. Text is written in the margin of p.3

2. Text is written in the margin of p.4

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