Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP770

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
George Albert Boulenger
9 November 1904

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to George Albert Boulenger, [British Museum (Natural History), Cromwell Road, London, S.W.] on 9 November 1904.

Record created:
18 March 2011 by NHM


This letter is about the 200 or so drawings of fishes that Wallace made while on the Rio Negro and its tributaries in the 1850s. Wallace explains that the specimens were lost on the voyage home but that as the drawings are to scale and have descriptions and accompanying notes they might be useful to a student or to catalogue. He suggests they could be reproduced by photography and process-plate. Wallace states he is reluctant to throw them away.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP770.942)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM Catkey-418906
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Broadstone, Wimborne

Nov.[ember] 9th. 1904

G.A.Boulenger Esq.

Dear Sir

I have had by me for 50 years about 200 drawings of fishes which I made on the Rio Negro & its Tributaries. Specimens of all were collected but were lost on the voyage home.

The drawings are all made to scale, and are accurate as to fin rays, scaling, dorsal line &c. and I have brief descriptions & notes of locality habits uses &c. of most of them.

Would [1 illegible word deleted] you care to look over them and name such as you know, [[2]] and giving the Genus, or the Family of the rest.

Also I should be glad to know if they are worth making a Catalogue of, if merely to show the possible richness of the fish-fauna of a river in which so many could be found without special collecting & by a non-specialist. They could now be easily reproduced by photography & process-plate, and might perhaps form an interesting little volume.

Do you know any student of Fishes to whom they would [[3]] be useful for this purpose?

They are all in pencil, & were often done under difficulties in canoes &c.

Dr. Gunther looked at them some 30 years ago and put a few names, but said they were useless without specimens. Still I dont like to throw them away & should like another opinion.

Believe me | Yours very truly | Alfred Russel Wallace [signature]

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