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Record number: WCP5098

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Elizabeth Gertrude Knight Britton
5 September 1906

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Elizabeth Gertrude Knight Britton [none given] on 5 September 1906.

Record created:
22 February 2013 by Catchpole, Caroline


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LETTER (WCP5098.5594)

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

Held by:
The New York Botanical Garden
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

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Transcription information




Broadstone, Wimborne, England.

Sept[ember] 5th 1906.

Mrs Elizabeth G. Britton

Dear Madam

My sister-in-law, Miss Flora Mitten, has handed me your letters of August 3rd, 4th, and 9th, offering to purchase the late Mr. William Mitten's collection of Mosses and Hepaticae for the sum of £400, at which price Mr. Mitten offered them to you. As I am Mr. Mitten's Executor, I have to make what arrangements are necessary for the completion of the transaction.

I understand that Mr D[octo]r W. A. Murrill, called at Miss Mitten's house at Hurst and took a very hasty look at the collections, and. Although I have never examined them myself, as a friend (and son-in-law) of Mr. Mitten for 40 years, I know something of them and I am inclined to think that they [[2]] constitute the richest (or nearly the richest) private collection of those groups in existence, which it is doubtful if any public collections are much richer. Mr. Mitten, as you know, has studied and described mosses for nearly 60 years, and for a long time was the greatest British authority on them, and received collections to sort, name, and describe from collectors, museums, & travellers, in every part of the world. Of all these he reserved sets for himself, and has thus accumulated an enormous collection, the nomenclature and arrangement of which he was at work at up to the end of his life.

As nobody ever touched, or hardly saw these collections but Mr. Mitten himself and a few specialist visitors, it is, I think, very important in order to avoid [[3]] any future misunderstanding as to your really receiving the whole of these collections, that you should instruct either D[octo]r Murrill or some other trustworthy agent to come to Hurst, and superintend the proper packing of the whole of it, and then see to the shipping and insurance from to New York.

Neither the Misses Mitten nor myself can undertake this work, which is one quite outside our experience. All we can do is to undertake that the entire collection shall be handed over to your agent or representative, on receipt of your draft on some London banker for the amount agreed upon. Of course Miss Mitten will do anything she can to enable your agent to pack the collections in the manner you [[4]] desire, and, if you wish it, will have suitable packing-cases made ready for your agent, if you will state what size and strength you wish them to be made.

Miss Mitten is still occupied, in spare moments, making a list of all her father's books. When that is completed, I will LET you what books he has specially relating to Mosses & in order that you may choose any require.

Believe me, Dear Madam | Yours faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

P. S. As I believe you know Mr. Hemsley (Keeper of the Kew Hernarium) who was a personal friend of Mr Mitten, he would no doubt be able to name a trustworthy agent to pack & receive the collection should D[octo]r Murrill have returned to America. ARW

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