Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP5460

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Samuel Hubbard Scudder
1 February 1887

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, The Hamilton Hotel, Washington D.C., USA to Samuel Hubbard Scudder [none given] on 1 February 1887.

Record created:
16 October 2013 by Catchpole, Caroline


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  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP5460.6190)

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

Held by:
Museum of Science, Boston
Finding number:
Scudder Archive
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




The Hamilton, Washington.


Feb[ruar]y. 1st. 1887

Dear Mr. Scudder1,

Many thanks for your valuable & interesting Revision of Fossil Insects2. I am glad to see they are growing so steadily, and it seems to me3 that the indicators l already obtained point to a much greater antiquity than any yet reached. I find that you name 26 families of Coleoptera as Mesozoic, with such highly specialized forms as Curculionidae, Ch<r>ysomelidae, Buprestridae, Gyrinidae, and Carabidae going back to its very base,4 so that we must evidently look back into Palaeozoic times for the primeval Beetles, and to some unknown antiquity for the primeval Insecta, and I feel sure that many wonderful [[2]] discoveries will yet be made.

Hoping that you may soon get some grand new (and ancient) Insect beds in America --

Believe me | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]


1. Scudder, Samuel Hubbard (1837 - 1911). American entomologist.

2. Scudder, S. H. (1886). Systematic review of our present knowledge of fossil insects including myriapods and arachnids. Bulletin of the United States Geological Survey 31, 128 pp.

3. "me" written over "be".

4. Curculionidae is a family of "true" weevils (or "snout beetles"). Chrysomelidae, are commonly known as leaf beetles; many are serious pests on cultivated plants. Buprestidae are commonly known as jewel beetles because of their glossy iridescent colours. Gyrinidae are surface-swimming water beetles commonly known as whirligig beetles. Carabidae is the largest family of beetles, with several thousand species and a variety of common names.

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