Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP5222

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Gerald Massey
13 November 1880

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Pen-y-bryn, St Peter's Road, Croydon to Gerald Massey [none given] on 13 November 1880.

Record created:
05 April 2013 by Catchpole, Caroline


No summary available at this time.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP5222.5750)

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

Held by:
Museum of Comparative Zoology, Ernst Mayer Library, Harvard University
Finding number:
bMs 46.10.1
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Pen-y-bryn, St. Peter's Road.


Nov[ember]. 13th. 1880

Dear Mr. Massey1

I have received the sheets of the 1st. Vol[ume]. of your great work2 from the printers, but from a hasty glance at it I fear it is far removed from any subjects of which I have knowledge that my opinion of it would be of no value even if I could form one. For mythology & ancient lore I have never had much taste or, to tell the truth, much respect. It has always seemed to me that [[2]] it is past time to investigate the endless gropings after truth of the ancients, when we have among us men of equal mental capacity who, with a far wider knowledge & comprehension of the universe start from a more elevated stand-point and arrive at more intelligible as well as at more probably & more harmonious results. At the same time philology has always had a certain fascination for me, & I shall read your book as soon as I can find time, with much interest. I have just been staying a few days with a friend [[3]] of yours Dr. Norris of Birmingham3 with whom I spoke of you & your work.

I do not think there is any doubt that a work of such immense labor & research will attract the attention of a large clan of readers infinitely better able than I to appreciate its merits.

Thanking you for sending it me and for your letter

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


1. Poet and writer Thomas Gerald Massey (1828 - 1907), a lifelong spiritualist.

2. Likely Massey's A Book of the Beginnings, which attempted to explain psychic and spiritualistic problems through the study of the ancient Egyptian civilization.

3. Dr. Richard Norris

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