WCP4196

Letter (WCP4196.4218)

[1]

Doveshill, Ensbury Park.

Bournemouth.

July 24th. 1935.

Robert L. Hobson. Esq. C.B., B.A.

Keeper of Ethnography,

British Museum.

Dear Sir,

I have a few objects of native manufacture which my father, Alfred Russel Wallace, O.M & collected in the Malay Archipelago and on the Amazon which I should be pleased to present to the Museum if they are acceptable. They comprise—

A bird-shaped float used in turtle spearing by natives of BATANTA. Size 9½ X 10½ inches. (See Wallace’s "Malay Archipelago" 10th. Ed. P.376.

A carved wooden tool for beating clay from Dorey, New Guinea, 13" long. (See p.388 & illustration p.389.)

Two wooden charms from Dorey, 4¾" & 6" high. (See p.449)

Another small charm from Dorey in hard wood, 8" long.

A wooden spoon with carved handle with anthropomorphic terminal. 10¾" long.

A larger wooden figure 13" high similar to the charms but a portion of the ornament missing.

The waist-band of a Ceramese woman ornamented with plaited grass(?)

[2] A native comb from the Amazon, (See illustration on P1.VI of Wallace’s "Travels on the Amazon" (P1. XIV in the Minerva Library Ed.) The small feathers are missing.

A polished stone axe from the Upper Amazon.

This axe is of a form which did not appear to be represented in the case of S. American objects when I last visited the Museum.

Yours faithfully | W. G. Wallace [signature]

[illustration of an axe appears below the signature]

Author’s draft (WCP4196.8355)

[1]1

[no address]

[no date]2

Dep[artmen]t [of] Ethnography B[ritish] M[useum]3.

I have a few objects of native manufacture which my father Alfred R[ussel] W[allace]4 collected on the Malay Archipelago5 & from the Amazon6 & which I should be glad to present to the B[ritish] M[useum] if they are acceptible [sic]. They comprise

Th A birdshaped float used in turtle spearing by the natives of Batanta Is[land]7. see p[age]. 376 The M[alay]. A[rchipelago]. 10th Ed[ition].8 Size 9½ x 10½ (repaired)

A carved wooden tool for beating clay from Dorey9, N[ew]. G[uinea]. See p[age]. 388 & illus[ratio]n on p[age] 389 ibid (13" long)

Two wooden charms from Dorey, see ill[usratio]n p[age] 449 (4¾ x 6"[)]

Another small charm in hard wood Dorey. (8")

A wooden spoon carved with anthropomorphic terminal to handle (10¾)

A larger figure 13" high — slightly defective

A small [s]poon or scoop — carved, probably f[ro]m Dorey

The waistband of a Ceramese10 woman — somewhat worn

[2]

A polished stone [1 word illeg.] f[ro]m the Upper Amazon

A native comb f[ro]m Amazon — see ill[ustratio]n on plate VI of Wallace’s Travels in the Amazon11 (or plate XIV Minerva Library Ed[ition].12) except that the small feathers at ends are missing.

The letter appears to be a draft, written in pencil on lined paper. The page is numbered WP16/2/65 in pencil in the top RH corner.
Date on record is 1935.
The Museum is dedicated to human history, art and culture and was established in Bloomsbury, London in 1753. The Department of Ethnography, (1946-2004) supported the collections from most of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, as well as those from generally small scale societies in Asia and Europe.
The draft is unsigned but this identifies the author as Wallace, William Greenell (1871-1951) Electrical engineer, second son and third child of ARW.
Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. ARW’s account of his adventures and observations during his explorations 1854 to 1862 are recounted in his book The Malay Archipelago (see Endnote 8).
ARW and Henry Bates left for Brazil in 1848 to collect animal specimens in the Amazon Rainforest. They spent most of their first year collecting near Belém do Pará, then explored inland separately. ARW continued charting the Rio Negro for four years, collecting specimens and making notes on the peoples and languages he encountered as well as the geography, flora, and fauna. His experiences are recounted in his book Travels on the Amazon (see Endnote 11)
One of the four major islands in the Raja Ampat Islands in West Papua province, Indonesia.
Wallace, A. R. (1890) The Malay Archipelago: The Land of the Orang-utan, and the Bird of Paradise. A Narrative of Travel with Studies of Man and Nature. 10th Edition. London, Macmillan & Co. (First published 1869).
Village in New Guinea where ARW built a rough jungle-house, in which he lived for three months, exploring the natural history of the surrounding district.
Ceram (or Seram) island is part of the Moluccas (Maluku) archipelago, eastern Indonesia.
Wallace, A. R. (1853) A narrative of travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro: with an account of the native tribes, and observations on the climate, geology, and natural history of the Amazon Valley London, Reeve & Co. (Alternative title: Wallace's Travels on the Amazon).
Wallace, A. R. (1889) A narrative of travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro: with an account of the native tribes, and observations on the climate, geology, and natural history of the Amazon Valley London, Ward Lock. (Alternative title: Wallace's Travels on the Amazon). This edition from The Minerva Library of Famous Books.

Please cite as “WCP4196,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 9 December 2022, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP4196