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Record number: WCP5033

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Edvard Alexander Westermarck
3 May 1891

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Corfe View, Parkstone, Dorset to Edvard Alexander Westermarck [none given] on 3 May 1891.

Record created:
21 February 2013 by Catchpole, Caroline


No summary available at this time.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)
  • publication (1)

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LETTER (WCP5033.5582)

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

Held by:
Åbo Akademi University Library
Finding number:
Manuscript collections, Westermarck, Edvard, vol XXXII
Copyright owner:
©A. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Parkstone, Dorset.

May 3rd. 18911

Dear Mr. Westermarck2

I think it will be very injudicous to conclude your work with as comparatively unimportant a subject as The duration of Marriage. The book is such a vast accumulation of facts, that few but professed anthropological students will read it through. It is therefore very important to give it a concluding chapter, a Summary of the facts & conclusions arrived at in the whole work. This will be the [[2]] only popular part of the book, and such a Chapter is absolutely necessary in order that the Reviewers may give a reasonably fair account of your work. It will be very easy for you to pass in review the various subjects you have treated, stating in each case your conclusions & how they differ from those of preceeding writers, & referring to the Chapters or [[3]] pages where the facts are given on which your conclusion is founded. Such a chapter will ensure good reviews, & in all probability double the sale of the book.

You might conclude with a few general philosophical reflections on the bearing of the whole enquiry on the future of marriage. You might perhaps be interested to read an article of mine in the ''Fornightly Review'' of September 1890 [[4]] which incidentally gives my ideas on that point.

I see that a French writer has just anticipated your work. I saw the advertisement the other day, but I forget where. No doubt you have heard of it. It might be as well to refer to it, either in the concluding Chapter or in the Preface.

Yours very truly │ Alfred R. Wallace [signature]


1. The numbers 5123 have been written in pencil.

2. Westermarck, Edvard Alexander (1862-1939). Finnish philosopher and sociologist.

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