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Record number: WCP5511

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
William Henry Edwards
15 February 1873

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, The Dell, Grays, Essex to William Henry Edwards [none given] on 15 February 1873.

Record created:
08 April 2014 by Benny, Ruth


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LETTER (WCP5511.6257)

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

Held by:
West Virginia State Archives
Finding number:
William Henry Edwards Collection (MS 79-2), Correspondence 23, 307
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




The Dell, Grays, Essex.

Feb[ruar]y 15th. 1873

Mr. H. Edwards Esq.1

Dear Sir

I must apologize for being so long delayed acknowledging the receipt of Part 9 of your beautiful work on the Butterflies of N[orth]. America2, but the fact is that I only heard of it being at the British Museum a few months ago, and I now seldom go there & only received it a few weeks back.

It is an exceedingly interesting number, and goes far I think to elucidate one mode at least in which species are formed; for if the conditions were such that a certain variety could only produce a brood at the season when it reproduces its like, it would become a fixed species.3 [[2]]

The varieties of Grapta interrogationis are even more interesting, as they are most easily recognised; and as they are of a character very common among Nymphalidae, they will no doubt lead to many more cases of dimorphism being discovered.

I have now almost given up attending to butterflies but am none the less interested in such careful observations as you are making and which are a real advance in Entomology.

I am now amusing myself in making a garden out of a bit of wild ground, and am trying to establish in it as many interesting or ornamental plants as I can. If you have any botanists [[3]] in your neighbourhood who would get me a small selection of seeds of your prettiest wild perennial flowers, small shrubs, or creepers -- especially such as grow in elevated & exposed situations & on the mountains[,] I should be very much obliged.

A dozen seeds of half a dozen sorts would go in an envelope for letter postage. If interested in horticulture I could send some Australian seeds in Exchange.

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

I enclose a carte. I ought to have sent the "Address" before but I laid by your letter thinking to have your book in a few days & it quite passed out of my mind. I now [[4]] post it with this & hope you may find the ideas on Nomenclature &c such as you may be disposed to follow.



1. Wallace's correspondent is William Henry Edwards (1822-1909). American entomologist .

2. Initially published by the American Entomological Society, Philadelphia, between 1868 and 1877.

3. There is a stamp at the bottom of the page. It reads: West Virginia State Archives".

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