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Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
William Jackson Hooker
Date:
20 August 1848
Source of text:
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: DC American Letters Volume 70, f.540-541
Summary:

ARW sending dried palm plants; describes Paxiuba palm roots; trees with buttresses to trunks; next week will explore River Tocantins. Describes “milk tree” (“Masseranduba”) whose juice is good substitute for cream, timber strong, fruit delicious, milk makes strong glue. Climate delightful. Is spending most time collecting insects.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
[unknown person]
Date:
February 1849
Source of text:
Natural History Museum, London: NHM WP1/8/297
Summary:

ARW reports to friends his observations of Brazil after nine months exploring. At first disappointed, expected profusion of monkeys, hummingbirds, and parrots everywhere. “Not for several days...saw a single monkey or bird,” but soon learned “how and where to look.” Country is “surpassingly beautiful,” caught 500 different kinds of butterflies. Virgin forest “sublime and magnificent” with astonishing vegetation where “lurk the Onca [jaguar] & the Boa constrictor...and the Bell bird tolls his peal.” Describes streams and rivers; Climate “wonderfully uniform;” 30 different kinds of palm trees; large variety of fruits. Unalterably opposed to slavery. Even where he observed them treated well, notes they can be sold “like horses or dogs.” Country is booming and prosperous in both agriculture and commerce.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
Charles Algernon ("Algernon", "Ally", "Naturae Amator") Wilson
Date:
[February?] [1849]
Source of text:
[Wilson, C. A.]. (1853). [LTTE with two letters from Alfred R. Wallace]. Adelaide Morning Chronicle : 11 (132): 255
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
Samuel Stevens
Date:
25 May 1849
Source of text:
National Archives, UK: FO 13/271. 109
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
Samuel Stevens
Date:
12 September 1849
Source of text:
Stevens, S. (1850). Journey to explore the natural history of South America. Annals and Magazine of Natural History : Series Series 2, 5 (26): 156-157
Summary:

ARW tells Agent of his travel plans and seeks information and advice. Planning to head for Matto Grosso, possibly into Bolivia. Perhaps will “get up the Rio Nigro [sic] towards the sources of the Orinooko [sic], ” will head for Montalegre. Oranges are fourpence a bushel. “The more I see of the country, the more I want to, and can see no end of, the species of buttterflies when the whole country is well explored.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
Samuel Stevens
Date:
15 November 1849
Source of text:
Stevens, S. (1850). Journey to explore the natural history of the Amazon River. Annals and Magazine of Natural History : Series Series 2, 6 (36): 494-496 [pp. 494-495]
Summary:

Spent 3 weeks at Montealegre, now back at Santarem nearly a month. Before leaving for Rio Negro, sending “small lot of insects…Lepidoptera.” Many new species, difficult to capture because they settle high in trees. Also sending Indian-made painted calabashes and small stuffed alligator.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
Samuel Stevens
Date:
20 March 1850
Source of text:
Stevens, S. (1850). Journey to explore the natural history of the Amazon River. Annals and Magazine of Natural History : Series Series 2, 6 (36): 494-496 [pp. 495-496]
Summary:

Delays in finding new canoe crews each few days to go upriver, arrived at Bara 30th of December; took 34 days from Santarem. Plagued by mosquitos until reached Rio Negro, which deserves its name: waters are “black as ink”, but mercifully no mosquitos. Staying with Sir Henrique Anthony; Richard Spruce arrived there previous evening. Impossible to send live animals from here, would not pay to do so. Collected more umbrella bird skins, bell birds, and two new species of anacaris [aracaris?] (small toucans).

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
Charles Algernon ("Algernon", "Ally", "Naturae Amator") Wilson
Date:
[January] [1851]
Source of text:
[Wilson, C. A.]. (1852). South America. Adelaide Morning Chronicle : 1 (104): 167
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
Charles Algernon ("Algernon", "Ally", "Naturae Amator") Wilson
Date:
[1851]
Source of text:
[Wilson, C. A.]. (1853). [LTTE with two letters from Alfred R. Wallace]. Adelaide Morning Chronicle : 11 (132): 255
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
Thomas Sims
Date:
20 January 1851
Source of text:
Natural History Museum, London: NHM WP1/3/73
Summary:

Received post from Mr Stevens — the safe arrival of his Rio Negro birds; regards to his cousins George Wilson and Percy Wilson, brother John, mother and sister Fanny. Has not been idle since arriving in Guia 3 months ago but unsuccessful in collecting specimens. Travels upriver with Indian hunters, living on farinha and salt; unable to find Gallos de Serra, insects, or other birds. Plans to enter Venezuela near source of Rio Negro, then up the River Vaupes or Isanna to make anthropological and geographical observations. ARW plans to publish illustrated volume on fishes of Brazil, illustrated volume on palms, and map of the "Physical History of the Great Amazon valley, comprising its Geography, Geology, distribution of Animals and Plants, Meteorology & the history & Languages of the Aboriginal tribes," including description of his collection of butterflies. Misses home.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
Richard Spruce
Date:
[19 Sept. 1852 - 5 Oct. 1852]
Source of text:
  • Natural History Museum, London: NHM WP1/3/24
  • University of Dundee: UR-SF 2/17/2
  • Wallace, A. R. (1908). In: My Life: a Record of Events and Opinions. Vol. 1. London: Chapman & Hall. [pp. 151-160]
Summary:

Describes the disastrous burning and sinking of the "Helen" off Brazil, loss of his collections, ten days in lifeboat almost starving, rescue and return to London via a passing vessel 200 miles from Bermuda, insurance coverage for lost collections. On 6th of August, the captain said “I am afraid the ship’s on fire.” Crew spent a whole day tearing apart cargo seeking its source, but too late to save the ship. All boarded two leaky life boats, which required constant bailing. Still weak from illness; skinned his hands descending rope into boat. ARW salvaged only a small tin box containing drawings of fish and palm trees, his watch, and a few sovereigns. “The reward of my four years of privation & danger was lost.” Kept near the ship as it burned for days, hoping they would attract a rescue vessel; eventually were picked up near Bermuda. Return to England took seventy days, more than double the original passage to South America. Barely survived on meager rations of biscuits and raw pork. Update note October 1st: Arrived at Deal. “Oh! glorious day!...beef steaks & damson tart, a paradise for hungry sinners.”

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
[unknown person]
Date:
19 October 1852
Source of text:
Wallace, A. R. (1852). [LTTE from Alfred R. Wallace concerning the ship fire, dated 19 Oct. 1852]. Zoologist : 10 (119): 3641-3643
Summary:

Account for publication of “unfortunate accident that took place on my voyage home from South America.” On 2 July retrieved collection of birds, insects, reptiles, and fishes that had been left at Para while I traveled upriver. On 12th of July embarked in the “Helen” for London, still suffering from fever, with my collections and some live monkeys and birds. On 6th of August “smoke was discovered...and soon filled the cabin;” ship burst into flames and we had to abandon it for life boats. Natural history collections and live animals were completely lost; we steered for Bermuda, 700 miles away. After ten days at sea, almost starved, we were rescued by passing ship 200 miles off Bermuda. . Only things I saved were “my watch, drawings of fishes,” and some notes and journals. Had packed 50-foot leaf of Jupate palm (Oredoxia regia). Mr. Spruce and Mr. Bates were fine when last seen.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
Roderick Impey Murchison
Date:
June 1853
Source of text:
Royal Geographical Society: RGS Corr. Block CB4 1851-60 ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE
Summary:

Application made to the Royal Geographical Society detailing ARW’s proposed trip to the Malay Archipelago and requesting free passage for the journey.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
Henry Norton Shaw
Date:
27 August 1853
Source of text:
Royal Geographical Society: RGS Corr. Block CB4 1851-60 ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE
Summary:

ARW declines offer of passage “from Trincomalee to Singapore & [then] to Borneo” as taking too much time and expense, and “should prefer waiting for another opportunity.”

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
Ralph Bernal Osborne
Date:
7 November 1853
Source of text:
Royal Geographical Society: RGS Corr. Block CB4 1851-60 ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE
Summary:

After a necessary delay for “necessary preparations,” and publication of his “Travels in South America,” ARW is now ready to embark for Singapore, Batavia, or other parts of Eastern Archipelago as soon as passage becomes available.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
Henry Norton Shaw
Date:
29 November 1853
Source of text:
Royal Geographical Society: RGS Corr. Block CB4 1851-60 ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
J. P. G. Smith
Date:
21 December 1853
Source of text:
University of Wisconsin - Madison, Special Collections: Thordarson Collection, Thordarson T 4567
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
Henry Norton Shaw
Date:
[3] [February] [1854]
Source of text:
Royal Geographical Society: RGS Corr. Block CB4 1851-60 ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
Henry Norton Shaw
Date:
4 February 1854
Source of text:
Royal Geographical Society: RGS Corr. Block CB4 1851-60 ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Alfred Russel Wallace
To:
William Alexander Bailie-Hamilton
Date:
8 February 1854
Source of text:
Royal Geographical Society: RGS Corr. Block CB4 1851-60 ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project