Wallace Letters Online

Share this:

Record number: WCP5000

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Asa Gray
1 January 1881

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Pen-y-bryn, St Peter's Road, Croydon to Asa Gray [none given] on 1 January 1881.

Record created:
04 February 2013 by Catchpole, Caroline


No summary available at this time.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP5000.5437)

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

Held by:
Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Pen-y-bryn, St. Peter Road, Croydon

Jan[uar]y. 1st. 1881

My dear Prof. Asa Gray1

Many thanks for your kind notes. I have not seen the Address of Prof. Dana2 you refer to, but I have supported my views by reference to his "Geology"3 where however I think the subject is only referred to in connection with the development of the American Continent.

I see I must apologize for not mentioning your name at the foot of p[age]. 119; but the fact is I am (I am sorry to say) very careless & unsystematic in the way of references. In this case I had so fully quoted you as my authority more than a year before in my article on [[2]] "Epping Forest"4 in the Fortnightly5, that when again briefly alluding to the same point I forgot that it had not appeared in any regular work & was therefore hardly not common scientific property. When I have appropriated and assimilated an idea (especially so good & suggestive a one as this) I am apt to make use of it as a matter of course, forgetting that the general readers, even many scientific men, may not be acquainted with its origin. Should my work come to a second Edition6 I will take care that the omission is rectified, and should you meet with any errors or deficiencies in any [[3]] other part of the volume -- especially as relate to Botany, in which I am a mere ignorant compiler. I shall be very thankful for any hints or corrections you can give me.

Wishing you the Compliments of the Season

I remain with much respect | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

Professor Asa Gray.


1. Preeminent American botanist Asa Gray (1810 - 1888).

2. Geologist, mineralogist, and zoologist James Dwight Dana (1813 - 1895).

3. Dana, James Dwight; Manual of Geology, London: Trubner & Co. 1863

4. Wallace, Alfred Russel. "Epping Forest," 1 November 1878 The Fortnightly Review. An article on the restoration of Epping forest and its usage as a commons.

5. The Fortnightly Review, a major magazine published in England from 1865.

6. The work in question is likely Island Life. Details: Wallace, Alfred Russel; Island Life, Or the Phenomena and Causes of Insular Faunas and Floras; 1880

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