Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP4671

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Heinrich Ernst Karl Jordan
20 October 1905

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Heinrich Ernst Karl Jordan [none given] on 20 October 1905.

Record created:
23 August 2012 by Catchpole, Caroline


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Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP4671.4999)

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

Oct[obe]r. 20th. 1905

Karl Jordan Esq.1 2

Dear Sir

My young friend Mr. Fred. Birch,3 after spending a year in that very poor locality for a collector -- Trinidad -- has now made arrangements to go to Santa Catalina, a little south of the Delta of the Orinoco, where he hears there are magnificent forests and a fine collection country. He will stay with a Captain Boynton, the manager of a large Estate there, and as they are making new roads &c. and there is much variety of hill & plain in the district I expect he will make extensive [[2]] collections. He is very dissatisfied with his agent -- Jameson -- who has written him very insulting letters, as to which he is very sensitive.

As this is I believe a little known district & he will stay there perhaps a year or more & work it thoroughly -- and would much prefer to make an arrangement with Mr. Rothschild4 to take a set or the pick from all his collections, will you kindly ascertain whether Mr. R. is willing to make such an arrangement, and what price he will pay for Butterflies, Moths, Beetles, & Birds -- either when taking a complete series or the first pick of what he [[3]] requires -- returning the remainder to Birch's friends at Liverpool.

As soon as he can earn sufficient money he will go to any part of South America thought to be most productive and least collected, but he positively refuses to take money on advance, and is quite miserable because he has not yet been able to pay back £10 Prof. Poulton5 advanced him for illustrations of mimicry -- which are not to be had in Trinidad. He is a most careful and systematic collector, as Prof. Poulton will tell [[4]] you. I shall be glad if you can give me Mr. Rothschild's reply as soon as possible, as by last mail he told me he had written to New York to know if he could get an agent or purchasers for his collections there, being so disgusted with his treatment by his present agent -- though that is partly due to the extremely small price attained for Trinidad insects although many were rare -- and Birch's perhaps incautious expressions of dissatisfaction.

Believe me | Yours very truly | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]


1. Entomologist Heinrich Ernst Karl Jordan (1861 - 1959).

2. There are illegible markings at the top of the page, in blue ink, that do not look to be in Wallace's hand.

3. Frederick R. Birch (d. 1910).

4. Lionel Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild (1868 - 1937). His zoological collection was the largest ever brought together by a private individual; he opened his museum to the public in 1892.

5. Evolutionary biologist Sir Edward Bagnall Poulton (1856 - 1943).

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