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Record number: WCP448

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Annie Wallace (née Mitten)
24 May 1887

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, San Francisco, California, USA to Annie Wallace (née Mitten) Nutwood Cottage, Frith Hill, Godalming on 24 May 1887.

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


Letter from Alfred Russel Wallace to his wife Annie from San Francisco, 24 May 1887; Stamped envelope printed with the address of The Baldwin [hotel], addressed to Mrs Wallace, Frith Hill, Godalming, England, postmarked on the front San Francisco [24] May 1887 and on the back Godalming 10 Jun 1887.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)
  • envelope (1)

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LETTER (WCP448.448)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/5/32(1)
Copyright owner:
©A. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




San Francisco

May 24th. 1887

My dear Annie

I arrived here yesterday, & was met on the ferryboat by my brother John. John looks older that I remember him, and rather muffy! Send this to Fanny.1 We came to a grand hotel where he insisted on the necessity in our having good rooms, so we are installed on the first floor in a sitting rooms & two bedrooms-- ready to receive visitors. An interviewer came yesterday afternoon & evening, and this morning I read you the result in a paper-- very well done considering the short time. John has arranged for me to give two lectures here, but it remains to be seen if they will produce any profit. Also two at Stockton after which I shall devote myself to the Yosemite valley the Sierra Nevada & the Rocky Mountains. I wrote to your father from Salt Lake City where I staid[sic] a day urging him again to come & join me in the Rockies. At Ogden on the border of Salt Lake where we staid[sic] an hour, I gathered a few flowers which I enclose. They were very bright & pretty when growing, on a kind of sandy peak [[2]] among bushes of wormwood &c. The country from Salt Lake to the Sierra Nevada about 600 miles was almost all a salt desert the ground being always more or less incrusted with salt or alkali but with plenty of sage brush and greasewood growing in tufts & clumps all over it, and occasionally a few flowers, a white [one word illegible] &c...There were bare low mountains on either side sometimes with a little snow. At all the stations there were Indians standing about, near women & children, all with painted faces, but looking very fat & jolly. They get presents of food & tobacco from the passengers. Crossing the Rockies by the route followed by the Railway was very tame, like moors or downs rather than mountains, except or about 50 miles where we pass through the Wasatch Range by valleys with fine & curious rocks on one side, but even there nothing superior to the best parts of Wales. The other route I am coming back by is, however, very [[3]] different and far grander. I hear Violet has at last written Mary which I am glad of. We came through the Sierra Nevada at night & could see nothing of it & there is only one train. California has had a dry spring & the whole country looks yellow, through there are lots of [one word illegible] on the railway banks, like our poppies, and some paths of yellow & blue flowers,-- & no doubt in the mountains there are plenty.

I have so much to do, & so many people to see that I cannot write more now especially as I am rather tired & have an attack of lumbago from sitting so long in the Railway. Here it is so cool that I have put on my winter flannels again. I had an inflamed eye from the dust in Kansas & the desert plains but it is now nearly well. Hoping you are all quite well, & expecting to have a letter for you here in a week or two.

I remain | Your affectionate Husband | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]


1. This sentence is written vertically in the left hand margin of the page.

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