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Record number: WCP441

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Annie Wallace (née Mitten)
5 April 1887

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Washington D.C., USA to Annie Wallace (née Mitten), [Nutwood Cottage, Frith Hill, Godalming] on 5 April 1887.

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


Letter from Alfred Russel Wallace to his wife Annie from Washington DC, 5 Apr 1887

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP441.441)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/5/24
Copyright owner:
©A. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Washington. April 5th /[18]87

My dear Annie1

I am leaving Washington tomorrow going first to Cincinnati & then on to Iowa and Kansas & perhaps to California. I have been today to see the President -- a private visit but a very common place [sic] one. He talked about California its wines and raisins chiefly. I sent off the 2nd. lot of plant from here -- these cont[ainin]g the Eucalyptus, on Wednesday Feb. 23.

On Monday, March 28th., I sent a box to Miss Jekyll2 with a nice lot of spring plants & wrote to her same time. Yesterday I sent a box to your father3 with about 100 bulbs of the yellow Dog’s Tooth Violet which grows here in the woods. also [sic] some rare & curious orchises4, & wrote him about them. You can see both these letters so that I need not write about them over again. all boxes same as yours.5 I have been making enquiries about lectures next year & have seen a gentleman of great [[2]] experience and he thinks the failure[?] is all owing to Mr. Williams’ bad management, & to Rev[erend] J. G. W.’s having been such a stick at the lecturing business. He has recommended me to apply to another Lecture Bureau to see what engagements they can get me next season, & he thinks that probably I should do well. So I shall try at all events as it will do no harm to see what they can get6 & if not enough I need not go.

I have made some very nice friends here and am rather sorry to leave them all but not having had one lecture here in three months I must cut. I have seen a good deal of Prof. Coues7. He is very jolly.

Any more of the printed receipts for books to Washington go for [[3]] a halfpenny stamp if you turn the flap of the envelope inside & do not stick it.

I enclose the certificate of life & receipt for the Pension, which you can take to the Bank as [MS blotted]ore.

I find I have quite forgotten to write to Mr Stanford but I will do so. I have heard nothing of the Marshalls Dickeinsons as I could hardly expect to. I am in the midst of packing up. It is a dreadful trouble each time I move. The Americans all have one huge trunk with trays, which holds everything & costs no more moving than one small one. If I go again I will not take half what I took this time. More than half the things I have never used.

I am in my good health -- either the warm houses, or the good living or the American climate agrees [[4]] with me. I do hope I shall get to California, but it costs as much as from England to America & back! so I cannot afford it if I have no lectures there & have asked John8 in that case to meet me half way at the Rocky Mountains and spend a week with me there.

Your winter appears to have been as bad as ours here, where every body [sic] says so severe and late a spring was hardly ever known.

I will write again when I get settled in Cincinnati.

With love to Violet & William9 & kind regards to all friends,

Believe me | Your affectionate husband | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]


1. Annie Wallace neé Mitten, wife of ARW.

2. Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), British horticulturist, garden designer and writer.

3. William Mitten (1819-1906), English pharmaceutical chemist and authority on bryophytes.

4. Orchis is a genus of the orchid family.

5. This sentence is written up the left hand margin of the page besides the section about sending boxes to Gertrude Jekyll and William Mitten, though it is unclear where in the main text it was intended to be inserted.

6. 'Get' has been written over another word.

7. Elliott Coues (1842-1899), American army surgeon, ornithologist and author.

8. ARW’s brother

9. ARW’s daughter and son.

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