Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP427

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Annie Wallace (née Mitten)
22 November 1886

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Boston, Massachusetts, USA to Annie Wallace (née Mitten), [Nutwood Cottage, Frith Hill, Godalming] on 22 November 1886.

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


Re. receipt of her letter after a month without news; visit to Williamstown, sending plants of fern Polystichum acrostichoides growing near a waterfall there and some moth cocoons for son William, moths should emerge in spring, instructions for care; stay with Dr Carter, President of the (Williamstown) College, and his daughter, invitation to return to view spring flowers; orchids including Cypripedum spectabile common; has sent gentian seeds to her papa (William Mitten); fears for his voice as has a cold, will wear respirator whenever going out, to travel 100 miles to lecture tomorrow; people becoming "oppressively kind and respectful."

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP427.427)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/5/6
Copyright owner:
©A. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information





Nov[embe]r 22. 1886

My dear Annie1,

I have just today received the first letter from you after thinking that you never meant to write at all and after I have been a whole month in America. I have been for 3 days in a country very like Wales & went to see a waterfall, very pretty with fine ferns [and] rocky banks. I got some of the commonest fern a very handsome evergreen which I think we have not got -- Polystichum acrostichoides -- There are 3 such plants in a tin box I have just posted to you and in the same box 4 or 5 cocoons with chrysalises of fine moths. for Willie. They should be hung up by the thin end in his breeding cage and kept in a cool airy place & will no doubt come out next spring or summer. The place in Williamstown in the N.W.corner [[2]] of Massachusetts. I staid with Dr. Carter the President of the College who has a duaghter something like Violet, only 21. he asked me to come again in the summer to see the flowers which abound. Cypripedium spectable is quite common and about a dozen other pretty pretty orchids some of them very fine, and most of the other American bog plants. I have sent seeds for a beautiful gentian for your papa.

We have very good tea though unequal sometimes weak sometimes strong, but as there is always unlimited cream I do very well. Somehow yesterday on my way home I caught my first cold in America. I had a warm bath last night which has made it much better, but as I have to lecture 3 nights running & travel 100 miles to one of them tomorrow I am [[3]] rather afraid of my voice. I shall however wear my respirator whenever I go out & wrap warm. I wish I had not brought so many things as the packing is so troublesome. I think before I leave Boston finally I must send some of them home if worth it. I cannot write more now as I am tried & must rest.

With kind love to all | Believe me | Your affectionate Husband | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

P.S. The people are getting to be quite oppressively kind & respectful.


1. Annie Mitten Wallace (1846-1914), Wallace's wife.

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