Wallace Letters Online

Share this:

Record number: WCP783

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Charles Owen Waterhouse
23 November 1908

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Charles Owen Waterhouse [none given] on 23 November 1908.

Record created:
18 March 2011 by NHM


Would like to have nearest available estimate of the total number of described, or known, Coleoptera - or those in the Museum. Also from Mr Kirby or who now is in charge of Lepidoptera, approximate number of special in that order - for lecture at the Royal Institution, hence approximation will be sufficient.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP783.955)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM Catkey-418281
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Old Orchard



Nov[embe]r 23rd 1908

Dear Mr. Waterhouse

Can you give me the nearest available estimate of the total number of described, or known Coleptera1 -- or those in the Museum2?

I would also be much obliged if you would obtain from Mr. Kirby3 (or whoever is now in charge of the Lepidoptera4) the approximate number of species in that order.

Also if any estimate has recently been made - the number of all known Insects.

As I only want them for the [[2]] purpose of a lecture I am preparing for the Royal Institution, almost any approximate estimate will be sufficient.

Yours very truly Alfred R. Wallace [signature]


1. Coleptera, commonly known as beetles.

2. British Museum (Natural History)

3. William Forsell Kirby, English entomologist and folklorist. Staff member at British Museum (Natural History) in charge on Lepidoptera.

4. Lepidoptera is a large order of insects that includes moths and butterflies.

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