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Record number: WCP2794

Sent by:
Henry Balfour
Sent to:
Alfred Russel Wallace
11 December 1899

Sent by Henry Balfour, Ethnography Department (Pitt Rivers Collection), University Museum, Oxford to Alfred Russel Wallace [none given] on 11 December 1899.

Record created:
30 November 2011 by Mayer, Anna


No summary available at this time.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP2794.2684)

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

Held by:
British Library, The
Finding number:
BL Add. 46437 ff. 74-75
Copyright owner:
Copyright of the Henry Balfour Literary Estate.

Physical description

Transcription information









Dear Sir

I must apologise for my long-delayed reply to your letter but I have been unusually busy as there are extensive changes in progress in the Museum & I have had no moment to myself. I fear that I have no photographs of Cafuso people, nor of the Khmers or other Caucasic Cambodian tribes. My [[2]] collection of photographs is not as yet a large one & is lamentably weak in certain regions. If I am able to find in the literature any suitable types I will send you word. I am very sorry to be unable to assist you just now.

As regards "screw arrow" heads of stone, examples somewhat like those you mention from [the] United States do occur now and then in Europe, but not commonly & I am inclined to think not intentionally [[3]]2 so made, I am a little doubtful as to their having been ever made deliberately for the purpose of rotation -- the effect of the alternate bevelling would of cause [sic] but slight rotation, except in quite extreme cases, & the twist can be more conveniently be given by the feathers. At the same time some African iron arrowheads do appear to have been shaped with the idea of causing rotation & they are effective for the purpose, the barbs being flared out in opposite directions[.] [[4]]

I had the pleasure of going round this Museum with you once & would gladly have another opportunity should you ever be in Oxford. I have made very many alterations & improvements.

Believe me | Yours very truly | Henry Balfour [signature] 3,4

P.S. I shall be going abroad for 3 weeks towards the end of this week.


1. There is a catalogue/reference number written in the top right-hand corner of the page. It reads "74".

2. There is a catalogue/reference number written in the top right-hand corner of the page. It reads "75".

3. Balfour, Henry (1863-1939). British archaeologist, first curator of the Pitt Rivers Museum.

4. The official stamp of the British Museum is placed below the Balfour's valediction and above his 'P.S.'.

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