Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP3494

Sent by:
William Fletcher Barrett
Sent to:
Alfred Russel Wallace
18 January 1913

Sent by William Fletcher Barrett, 6 De Vesci Terrace, Kingstown, Co Dublin, Ireland to Alfred Russel Wallace [none given] on 18 January 1913.

Record created:
30 November 2011 by Mayer, Anna


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Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP3494.2981)

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

Held by:
British Library, The
Finding number:
BL Add. 46439 ff. 412-413
Copyright owner:
Copyright of the William Fletcher Barrett Literary Estate.

Physical description

Transcription information







January 18th 1913

My dear Friend,

I did not like to add to the numerous letters of greeting you must have had on your anniversary of birth2, but now perhaps I may send a line of sincere & affectionate congratulations. How [[2]] great a boon to humanity your long life has been, & your mind still as active & vigorous as ever. I see the Daily News3 regularly, so saw the new portrait of yourself. Two of yours are hanging in my study beside me.

We have had some [[3]]4 wonderful experiments over here with the oui-ja board5, the sitters absolutely blindfold[ed] & opaque screens in front of their eyes. Long passages spelt out with incredible swiftness; one before the Balkan war6, said “a small nation will rise & a great one be overthrown blood blood everywhere.” Another control said “Iris Lauder”, “I passed over yesterday & lived at Upper Norwood.” Today [[4]] I hear from her father that his daughter Iris died on the very day named & lived at Upper Norwood. No one present knew this name, nor anything about Iris Lauder; her grandfather’s a spiritualist -- I knew he lived in Dublin but I never heard the name ‘Iris’ nor where they lived now nor of her death.

Please give my warmest regards to your wife7 & daughter8[.]

Yours ever sincerely | W. F. Barrett9 [signature]


1. Page numbered 412 in pencil in top RH corner and “Answ[ere]d” written in ink across top LH corner of page.

2. ARW’s 90th birthday fell on 8th January 1913.

3. Wallace, A. R. (1913) The spectre of poverty. Daily News & Leader (London & Manchester) No. 20850 (6 January) (Accompanied by photographic portrait).

4. Page numbered 413 in pencil in top RH corner.

5. A flat board marked with the letters of the alphabet, the numbers 0–9, the words "yes", "no", "hello" (occasionally), and "goodbye", along with various symbols and graphics. It uses a planchette (small heart-shaped piece of wood) as a movable indicator to indicate a spirit's message by spelling it out on the board during a séance. ARW was a believer in spiritualism.

6. The two Balkan Wars were fought in the Balkan Peninsula in south-eastern Europe in 1912 and 1913. Four Balkan states defeated the Ottoman Empire in the first war; one of the four, Bulgaria, was defeated in the second. The Ottoman Empire relinquished most of its territory in Europe as a result.

7. Wallace, (née Mitten), Annie (1846-1914).

8. Wallace, Violet Isabel (1869-1945).

9. Barrett, William Fletcher (1844-1925). English physicist and parapsychologist. He was appointed Professor of Experimental Physics at the Royal College of Science for Ireland in 1873. He became interested in the paranormal and by 1881 had published preliminary accounts of his experiments with thought transference in the journal Nature. The publication caused controversy and in the wake of this he held a conference of like-minded individuals in London, from which arose the Society for Psychical Research in 1882. ARW was a member.

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