Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP737

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Frederick R. ("Fred") Birch
19 June 1905

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Frederick R. ("Fred") Birch [none given] on 19 June 1905.

Record created:
18 March 2011 by NHM


Dispatch of Birch's collections to Janson.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP737.909)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM Catkey-418743
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Broadstone, Wimbourn

June 19th. 1905

My dear Fred

Just a few lines to say that I received yours June 2nd. (on the 15th.) telling me that you had sent off your collections to Janson3 as I had recommended, and which you will see I again urged in may last, written a fortnight ago.

Though your suspicions may have been[?] disagreeable to him, they may have had the good effect of showing him that you may probably be able to find out yourself what the chief purchasers paid for the insects they bought. Of course, I advise you[?] [MS damaged] confirming to send to him till you [MS damaged] earned enough to get on with <selling> [MS damaged] one set only of your Lep[idoptera]. and Col[eoptera]. What[?] [MS damaged] else can you do? As to putting your <faith> [MS damaged] into the hands of Rosenberg[?]4 [MS damaged] [[2]]5 that would probably be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire!

I am also very glad you asked him for advice about localities, as that will be more likely to please him than anything else, and no doubt his advice will be better than almost any other persons, because he knows, not what any one buyer wants, but what buyers generally want, which is the more important.

Besides, of all the good things you get he will be able to sell perhaps from 20 to 50 specimens, whereas to your one buyer you would sell 2-3 only, and the rest my become common or worthless before you come home!

That is really the reason a good [MS damaged] <agent> is so essential to a [[3]] collector.

The mystery of Capt[ai]n. Boynton6 gets deeper and deeper! I am always induced to say as Betsy Prig said of Mrs Harris -- "I don't believe there ain't no sich a person"! But then you have seen and conversed with the living Mrs. Boynton! So, probably there is a Captain Boynton somewhere!

Go to "unexplored country" that will be the worst you can go to. Forests and campos without roads or paths! the oldest settlements you can find, with forest near, will be the best. As to the big waterfalls "back of Catalani [sic]" -- where is the big river and the big mountains to produce it? But I wish you [MS damaged] may find it. I wish you may go to S[an]ta. Catalina after all. [[4]]

As to the "Atlas" if would be interesting no doubt, but every addition to your baggage is to be avoided. I think a single Map of the country you finally go to would be best.

I wait anxiously for the next letter to have the great Santa Catalina Mystery solved.

Yours very sincrely | Alfred R.Wallace -- [signature] 7


1. There is fire damage to the right-hand and bottom edges of the page.

2. There is a number inscribed in pencil placed in the top left-hand corner of the page. It reads "80".

3. Possibly Janson, Oliver Erichson (1850-1925). English entomologist.

4. Rosenberg, William Frederick Henry (1868-1957). English ornithologist, entomologist and natural history dealer.

5. There is fire damage to the left-hand and bottom edges of the page.

6. Boynton, George R. (c.1842-1911). American Civil War veteran and inveterate adventurer.

7. There is a stamp placed below Wallace's signature. It reads: Entomology BMNH Library

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