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Record number: WCP4670

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Heinrich Ernst Karl Jordan
3 April 1905

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Heinrich Ernst Karl Jordan [none given] on 3 April 1905.

Record created:
23 August 2012 by Catchpole, Caroline


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LETTER (WCP4670.4998)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM TR/1/1/26/576
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Broadstone, Wimborne

April 3rd. 1905

Karl Jordan Esq.

Dear Mr. Jordan1

I am troubling you again about my young friend Fred Birch, who is still in Trinidad, which turns out to be no better for insects in the dry than in the wet season, and even worse he says for beetles. He is going next to try the mainland near the Orinoco Delta, and he wants to get far up the Orinoco, but from all I can learn I fear it will still be poor in insects. Brazil is too far for him to go to at present, and on looking for another place where insects are known to be abundant and not very remote from where he is, I find that Blewfields on the Mosquito Coast [one word illeg.], (joined to Nicaragua formerly British) [[2]] seems to be such a place. That coast is very healthy, and it is said in all books that butterflies are excessively abundant in the forests all around the town which is small. In a book by Mr. Wickham2 -- describing his journey among the Mosquito Indians he speaks of the abundance of butterflies, morphos, Heliconia's3 &c. &c. and also of insect & bird. The same man went up the Orinoko and some of its branches, to Atabapo, & across to the Rio Negro, stopping to collect rubber. Up there he describes the forests as being grand, but never mentions a butterfly! I also found the whole Rio Negro & the Atabapo poor, very poor compared with Para or Soutarein.

Now where the whole fauna is poor [[3]] a collector can hardly live, but where it is rich even if more known he has a better chance. Belt4 found Nicaragua, about 100 miles inland from the Mosquito Coast, very rich both in butterflies & beetles, but I suppose he did not collect them in large series, or at all exhaustively. Birch must go to some place where he can get quantity both in species & specimens -- both of butterflies & beetles.-- and rarely reached from where he is.

Can you tell me if that coast & the interior of Nicaragua has been so well-worked, that it is nearly exhausted, or is there still room for a really good collector, as Birch is. Mr. Bruce has had the [[4]] whole series of his butterflies & moths, & is very much pleased with them, but being from Trinidad they were sold at such a very low price as hardly to keep him alive while collecting.

I have written to him about Brazil, but it is too far & too far[sic] & too uncertain at present. He wants, ultimately, to get up to the Andes, but the Nicaragua coast and a little inland w. perhaps furnish him with the means, & give him the opportunity of learning Spanish, which he will want for in the interior.

Any information you can give will be much appreciated.

Yours very truly | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]


1. Dr. Karl Jordan (1861 - 1959) German entomologist

2. Captain John Clements Wickham (1798 - 1864) of the Beagle

3. Heliconia are flowering plants that resemble lobster claws

4. Thomas Belt (1832 - 1878) Naturalist

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