Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP724

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Frederick R. ("Fred") Birch
8 November 1904

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Frederick R. ("Fred") Birch [none given] on 8 November 1904.

Record created:
18 March 2011 by NHM


Asks Birch to send him a few Bromeliaceae. Janson has sent Birch some money and is fairly satisfied with the collection.

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LETTER (WCP724.896)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM Catkey-418625
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Broadstone, Wimborne

Nov. 8th. 1904

My dear Fred

I was glad to have your Postcard. Am glad to hear you are getting more butterflies. I suppose that means finer weather and more sunshine. I hope you are getting lots of the fie Theclus, & Erycinidae. I hoe you have by this time gone up to the virgin forest again; & tried cutting down a few trees to attract beetles.

When you get up pretty high in the mountains I shall be much obliged if you will get me a few Bromeliacede/Tillandsias, Bilbergies [MS burned] still grey-leaved epiphytes like small pine-apples that often have very fr[MS burned] flowers. In many places the people call them "air-plants" and har[MS burned] up in their vernacular, where [MS burned] [[2]] will live for years & flower. I have read lately that many of the species from Mexico, the W. Indies, &c. can be grown in England out of doors in Summer & in a Greenhouse in winter, with hardly any attention, & so I want to get some. They generally abound, and if you see any just bring one or two home now and then & hang them outside your verandah, and then, after they have flowered & the weather is dry pack half a dozen or a dozen in a paper box - or light cigar-box & send them me by Parcel-post - 10lbs will go for s3/- & I shall be glad to pay postage for as many as you can send me. If you are still at Belmont when this reaches you, you can take a walk [MS burned] Botanic Gardens & see some [[3]] of the local species and [1 word illeg] where they are most abundant. They are things that are so elastic that they can be just squeezed in a box & will come beautifully if quite dry. If you get to the highest mountains you are I think sure to find a lot. Those from the low damp forests will not do except in a hot-house.

I hope you have by this time heard from Jauson & that he has sent you some money and is fairly satisfied with the collection. I have been looking through my Amazon book again, and now realise more than ever, how very rare good local<ities> are, and how much they are dependent on a considerable settled population with roads, paths, cultivation & wood-c[MS burned]. All the best places, I ever found [MS burned] [[4]] these characteristics, but of course in or near to virgin forest. Again, therefore, I urge you when you get on to the actual S. American Continent, seek such a place, & when found stick to it as headquarters for some years. A collector especially should heed the old proverb - "Go farther and fare worse"! When you do get to such a good place at will pay you to have a good negro hunter to shoot birds, trap mammals &c. skin them, cut down trees &c. & thus leave you all your time for insects and for looking after the proper preservation of your collections. Even now there must be a good many more birds in S. America even if there are only few new ones. You might inquire if there are any means of getting up the Arinosko to [MS burned] Fernando de Atabapo, & on to Jairta any place, <an> excellent collecting place in the dry season. Or up [MS burned] of the N. tributaries - the Meta or the Apure, to <the> east country. They would take you into an [MS burned] central part of S. America.

Yours very truly | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

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