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Record number: WCP4674

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Heinrich Ernst Karl Jordan
9 December 1907

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Heinrich Ernst Karl Jordan [none given] on 9 December 1907.

Record created:
23 August 2012 by Catchpole, Caroline


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LETTER (WCP4674.5002)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM TR/1/1/28/608
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Broadstone, Wimborne

Dec[embe]r.. 9th. 1907

Dear Mr. Jordan1

Many thanks for sending me your Revision of the American Papilios. All such works, giving a complete catalogue of any group, are always interesting to me, because they gives such valuable material for dealing with problems of Geog[raphic]. Distribution as well as of Evolution generally.

Last year I wanted to get for F. Birch2 some Lists of the Brit[ish]. Museum chief groups of Lepidoptera & Coleoptera & [[2]] found, to my great astonishment (& disgust) found that absolutely nothing had been issued for nearly half a century! I then wrote to Ray Lankester3, urging that mere lists of the names and localities of the specimens of the more popular groups, such as the Dinrin & Splungida and the Carabida, Longicorus-- &c. &c. which could be drawn up by any intelligent youth under the supervision of the Curators of departments from by merely going through the Cabinet drawers [[3]] themselves-- without any attempt at classification, revision, or description-- would be an immense boon to private collections, travellers, students &c. as merely showing what the Museum possessed. And such Lists, if published as cheaply as possible, and divided into sections, each containing the Species of one of the great Geog[raphic]. Regions,-- would have a very large Sale & probably pay expenses.

He promised to see if it could be done, & I hope he will. Now the Museum's vast insect collections as useless to those who have not [[4]] leisure & means to go there personally.

I have delayed thanking you for the "Revision" so long, hoping (week by week) to have some later news of Birch-- but I have now been 7 weeks without hearing from him. It can hardly be serious illness, or I should have heard from his sister-- so I hope it is a sign of great abundance of insects, keeping his hands so full that he quite forgets the lapse of time.

Yours very truly | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

Karl Jordan Esq.


1. Heinrich Ernst Karl Jordan (1861 - 1959), German entomologist, President of the Entomological Society of London, described thousands of new species.

2. Frederick Birch, collector of specimens.

3. Ray Lankester (1847 - 1929), British invertebrate zoologist and evolutionary biologist, professor at University College London and Oxford University, director of the Natural History Museum.

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