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Record number: WCP438

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Annie Wallace (née Mitten)
23 February 1887

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Washington D.C., USA to Annie Wallace (née Mitten) Nutwood Cottage, Frith Hill, Godalming on 23 February 1887.

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


Letter from Alfred Russel Wallace to his wife Annie from Washington DC, 23 Feb 1887 with stamped envelope addressed to her at Frith Hill, Godalming and postmarked on the front Washington 23 Feb 1887and on the back New York 24 Feb 1887 and Godalming 7 Mar 1887.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)
  • envelope (1)

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LETTER (WCP438.438)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/5/19(1)
Copyright owner:
©A. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Washington, D. C. Feb[ruary]. 23nd. 1887

My dear Annie1

I got your two last letters together. The first was delayed at New York because you did not put D.C. after Washington. There are perhaps 100 towns, cities, and villages named Washington in the U[nited]. States and also Washington Territory, &they [sic] will not send letters unless the name of the State is put after the name of the city. Remember this whenever you write to me but for the future you must write as at first to the agent at Boston. Mass[achusetts]..

Yesterday I went for a long walk with Prof. L. Ward2 to see the place where the Comptonia asplenifolia3 grows, but it is quite a shrub with long roots and would never live if dug up now besides being too large to send.

Iwill [sic] try to get some seeds if I meet with it again, but it is rare here. The two ferns [[2]] you name are not to be had, as the only one that grows here is deciduous and not common. I got however some more of the little Asplenium ebeneum4 and also two small plants of the Aspidium acrostichoides5 which I sent you from Boston. Also some more of the trailing Arbutus, Epigaea repens6, two or three small plants of the winter-green Pyrola rotundifolia7, some Partridge berry Mitchella repens8 -- the small round leaved creeping plant, and some fine[five?] plants of the Chimaphila maculata9 sent last time. There are also 3 plants of the alpine Eucalyptus which we had a[t] Grays. I got them from the Greenhouses of the Agricultural Department here. Its name is Euc[alyptus]. coccifera. These you must pot carefully in peat and sand spreading the roots out well and keeping them shaded in the greenhouse for a week or two till they recover. The little Asplenums [aspleniums10] [[3]] and most of the other plants had better be treated the same way. It was warm & fine yesterday now it is snowing hard. I enclose some seeds I got of a very beautiful small shrub which perhaps Mrs. Jekyll11 would like to grow. It has large clusters of drooping flowers.

You must have had a terrible winter and I expect lots of things will be killed. The glory pea12 will have to be cut down to near the ground most likely, & all the other things that are partly killed had better be served the same. Here notwithstanding the warm sun & fine weather half the time we have no crocuses out yet though some of the buds of the flowering shrubs are appearing. I have one or two more lectures arranged for, but it [is] dreadfully disappointing work. I enclose another newspaper article. I also enclose [[4]] a letter and a newspaper cutting for Willie13. You seem to have equally bad luck with me, as regards the house. I found I had so many useless things that I left my portmanteau full of clothes, my fur-coat, my picnic basket & a lot of books at Boston only bringing here my trunk and bag. I ought to have had a larger trunk with divisions & put every thing [sic] into it as they charge a dollar each parcel whether large or small for collecting & delivering luggage, & Americans have enormous trunks. I am very well so far. I caught one more cold at a very sudden change of temp[erature]. but had a hot bath & stayed in the house all next day & so cured it. A real hot bath with a warm room is fine for a cold. Hoping you are all well, with love to Violet14 & remembrances to all, I remain your affectionate Husband

A. R. Wallace [signature]


1. Annie Wallace (née Mitten), ARW’s wife.

2. Lester Frank Ward (1841-1913), American botanist, palaeontologist and sociologist.

3. A deciduous North American shrub.

4. A fern native to North America commonly known as ebony spleenwort or brownstem spleenwort.

5. A type of fern.

6. A low spreading shrub native to North America commonly known as mayflower.

7. A plant species of the genus Pyrola native to North America commonly known as Round-leaved Wintergreen.

8. A creeping herbaceous woody shrub found in North America and Japan.

9. A small, perennial evergreen herb native to North and Central America commonly known as spotted wintergreen, striped wintergreen, striped prince’s pine and rheumatism root.

10. A genus of fern.

11. Gerturde Jekyll (1843-1932), British horticulturist, garden designer and writer.

12. A plant of the genus Clianthus with red, pea-like flowers.

13. ARW’s son, William Greenell Wallace (1871-1951).

14. ARW’s daughter Violet Wallace (1869-1945)

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