Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP755

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Frederick R. ("Fred") Birch
15 May 1906

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Frederick R. ("Fred") Birch [none given] on 15 May 1906.

Record created:
18 March 2011 by NHM


No summary available at this time.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP755.927)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM Catkey-418768
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Broadstone, Wimbor[ne] [MS damaged]

May 15th. 1906

My dear Fred

I received yours of April 26th. an hour ago. Your first gloomy words made me think that you had been pronounced incurable -- or been ordered to go home for a year -- or some other dreadful thing. Instead of which, you are going to the delightful mountains of N[ew]. Hampshire[?] & then straight away to Iquitos -- which was just what I was hoping for you [MS damaged] So, as I always say, one never knows, and our greatest appa[rent][?] [MS damaged] misfortunes often turn out to <be> [MS damaged] blessings in disguise. I am [MS damaged] glad you have accepted [MS damaged] very kind [MS damaged] 3 [[2]]4 and assistance. I am sure he is the kind of man you need not fear of being under and obligation to, and one to whom it would be quite impossible to think of any repayment for his kindness except by friendship, & whatever comes your way to do. So do not even speak too much of your obligations to him, as I am sure that your manner will show it quite enough; while the feeling that he has helped a true nature-[MS damaged] [wor]shipper will, I feel certain [MS damaged] <be> ample reward to him. [MS damaged] the best map I have that [MS damaged] mountain. [[3]]5 about as high as Snowdon, & <you> [MS damaged] will find ample amusement [MS damaged] collecting insects & enjoying the new & charming American spring flowers. If you find any of the Cypripediums or other terrestrial orchids dormant or just starting growth, you can send me a small lot[?] by parcel-post. They will come[?] well in a paper parcel [MS damaged] wrapped tightly in Sphagnum moss[?] [MS damaged]

You do not seem to have had my last letter (or last but one) in which I asked you whether you would accept an advance of money to go to Iquitos from your proposed French [MS damaged] or others. But I think it [MS damaged] that Mr. Thayer6 will offer [MS damaged] you himself if, as I <suppose> [MS damaged] is a [MS damaged] [[4]]7 [MS damaged] does so I dare say you will find it hard to refuse -- & I hope you will not -- as it is better to have one big obligation to a real friend than the smaller ones to strangers -- though an advance from collectors for first choice is not a favour, but a purely business arrangement, in which they take the risk of loss for the advantage of all the novelties & rarities found by a good collector.

I am really glad you have visited[?] S[an]ta Catalina, for if even very rich, it would have been all the comparatively well-known gGuiana fauna. In the Iquitos district you will probably get [MS damaged] a 10 times as many rarities, & things [MS damaged] <that> will fetch high prices. I therefore [MS damaged] that you are not losing another [MS damaged] there. The American post goes out [MS damaged] I can say now more now. [MS damaged] regards to Mr. Thayer.

[MS damaged] <Alfred R.> Wallace [signature]


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

2. There is a stamp placed in the top left-hand corner of the page. It reads: Entomology BMNH Library”. And there are catalogue/reference numbers inscribed in pencil in the top left and right-hand corners of the page. These read, respectively: “8” and “29”.

3. There is a catalogue /reference number inscribed in the bottom right-hand corner of the page. It reads: “418768”.

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

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

6. Thayer, Abbott Handerson (1849-1921). American artist and naturalist.

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

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