Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP742

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Frederick R. ("Fred") Birch
27 September ?1905

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Frederick R. ("Fred") Birch [none given] on 27 September ?1905.

Record created:
18 March 2011 by NHM


Is much obliged to Birch for sending him a box of plants, one of which is Utricularia montana, with which he is delighted.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP742.914)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM Catkey-418630
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Broadstone, Wimbo[rne]

Sept[embe]r. 27th [1900]

My dear Fred

I was very glad to get your letter about S[an]ta. Catalina & the good prospects there, especially of the new "forest-road" which ought to produce you a grand crop of beetles, though, as S[outh]. American beetles have been perhaps more largely collected than in any part of the tropics you must not expect more than a sprinkling of new or rare species, but no doubt hundreds of the small ones you will collect will be new. So with the butterflies if you get 2 - 3 per cent new it will be as much as you can expect as so many species extend from the Amazon to B[ritish]. Guiana2 and Venezuala.

The box of plants arrived a few days after the letter, and <I am> much obliged to you for <them>. [[2]]3 [MS burned] large Tillansia4 [sic] -- (broad green spotted leaves with a large branching flower spike) one only arrived alive but I think that will grow. Also one rather large green leaved orchid. The smaller straggly orchid was dead. The plant you sent dried flowers of is not an orchid at all, but the beautiful Utricularia Montana. It has reticulated leaves, and spurred flowers like those of our little aquatic Utricularias on a large scale -- One plant has 2 green leaves & a cluster of fleshy root-tubers & I hope will live -- another small cluster of tubers had the leaves dead -- but still it may live. I am delighted with this plant; & hope I may grow it as it is I think more easy to manage than orchids. I have not your account [MS burned] your expedition to Tucuche5 yet, but [MS burned] you took temperatures at the [MS burned], day & night, & also whether [[3]]6 there is any period of droug[ht].

When you go to S[an]ta. Catalina [MS burned] had better I should think have your letters sent to care of Capt[ai]n. Boynton Agent, to be forwarded with his by his steamer, as this would be much safer than sending by Venezuelan post. When I am assured it will reach you safely I will send you a copy of any new book if, as expected, it come[s] out next month.

As to the birds for the Company Office of course you will only send good skins, & not attempt to mount them, as that can be so easily done in a place like Cincinnati in a group in a large case suitable for an Office. It [MS burned] be advisable to send a dozen or so of good skins of the common showy bird for this [MS burned] as a present to the [MS burned] [[4]]7 [MS burned] Boynton as you think best. Also do not at all scruple to accept Capt[ai]n and Mrs. Boyntons hospitality, even as a permancy [sic], for in such a solitary place a companion is an acquisition even if he does or can do nothing whereas you will be able in many ways to help them in doing little bits of joiners work in the house: the cost of food for one extra would be absolutely nothing to them.

Of course you would be occasionally away for days weeks, or months, in some other good localities you might find, but it is an immense advantage to have a house in such a country, and I have little doubt you will find them agreeable people and get on well with them. If they [MS burned] ideas at all, your collections [MS burned] interest them.

[MS burned] till I hear you are really [MS burned] the promised land," where [MS burned] abound and of butterflies

[MS burned]8 Yours very sincerely | Alfred [MS burned]


1. This letter was damaged by fire and the right side of page 1 is missing.

2. British Guiana was a British colony on the northern coast of South America and is now the independent nation of Guyana.

3. The fire damage has destroyed the left side and part of the bottom of the letter on page 2.

4. Tillandsia is a genus of around 540 species in the Bromeliad family, found in Central, South and southern North America.

5. El Tucuche is the second highest peak in Trinidads northern mountain range.

6. The fire damage has destroyed the right side of the letter on page 3.

7. The fire damage has destroyed the left side of the letter on page 4.

8. The block of text including "yours very sincerely" is written vertically up the left side of page 4 but is incomplete because of fire damage.

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