Letter (WCP6214.7190)




1 Nov[ember]. 1931

Dear Mr. Wallace2,

Thank you very much for letting me see these most interesting letters. I want to keep them for a few days longer & to copy parts of them & just now I am terribly pressed with work caused mainly by the accumulation of things during the preparation of my address to the Zool[ogy]. Sect[ion]. of the Brit[ish]. Assoc[iation]. last Sept[ember]3. [2] I enclose a copy. It is of course very sketchy as was inevitable from the vastness of the subject & the short time allotted. I hope, if only I can get the time, to bring out in a smallish book this address with the material I was compelled to omit.

I do not quite understand the references to Mrs Sims4. As both the letters speak of the death of "Your son" were not both written to Mrs Wallace5? — The second after Bates6 had heard [3]7 from Mrs Sims that Mrs Wallace she would value further details. The letter is however addressed distinctly to "Mr" Sims & yet at the end evidently concludes as if written to Mrs Sims.

I expect Bates made a slip in at the sentence beginning in writing as if to Mrs Wallace and then concluded as if to Mrs Sims.

It is of course only a small incident but even small incidents have their value in letters of such interest as these.

We are all8 well, thank you. I have reached a landmark in life when 2 grand children — cousins — boy & girl [4] have come up to Balliol9 & Somerville10 respectively for their first term. We have 13 altogether — 8 boys & 5 girls — & a remarkably varied & vigorous lot. Six of them swam from the shore to a fort at S[ain]t. Helens, I[sle]. [of] W[ight]11., — ¾ mile away, this last summer when the water was very cold, the youngest being a boy under 13. It took him just 58 min[utes]. Of course we had boats with them on the 2 days — (3 on each) 2 days, [sic] for we did not want more than 3 to attempt it together.

I am very interested to hear of your sons12. I am sure that they will be happier together by being different in temperament. It is so with my grand children & was so with my children.

Please give my kind remembrances to your sister13 when you are writing. I do hope that she will continue to improve. With kind regards

Yours sincerely, | E. B. Poulton14 [signature]

The page is numbered WP16/1/120 [1 of 2] in pencil in the top LH corner.
Wallace, William Greenell (1871-1951) Electrical engineer, second son and third child of ARW.
Poulton, E. B. (1931) A hundred years of evolution Report of the 100th Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Section D Zoology, pages 71-95.
Sims, Frances ("Fanny") (née Wallace) (1812-1893) Sister of ARW and aunt of the recipient.
Wallace, Annie (née Mitten) (1846-1914) Wife of ARW and mother of the recipient.
Bates, Henry Walter (1825-1892) English naturalist and explorer, who gave the first scientific account of mimicry in animals. His expedition to the rainforests of the Amazon with ARW started in 1848. ARW returned in 1852, but lost his collection on the return voyage when his ship caught fire. When Bates arrived home in 1859, he had sent back over 14,712 species (mostly of insects) of which 8,000 were new to science.
The page is numbered WP16/1/120 [2 of 2] in pencil in the top LH corner and the numeral 2 encircled is written in the centre top.
The author and his wife Emily Poulton (née Palmer) had three daughters and two sons, but at the date of the letter only two were alive, a son, Edward Palmer (d. 1939) and a daughter, Margaret Lucy (d. 1965). There were however 13 grandchildren at this time.
College of the University of Oxford, founded 1263.
College of the University of Oxford, founded 1879.
Village close to the East coast of the Isle of Wight, location of the Poultons’ summer residence. St Helens Fort is a sea fort in the Solent close to the Isle of Wight, one of the Palmerston Forts near Portsmouth.
Wallace, Alfred John Russel (1922- ) and Wallace, Richard Russel (1924-), sons of the recipient.
Wallace, Violet Isabel (1869-1945) ARW’s daughter and sister of the recipient.
Poulton, Edward Bagnall (1856-1943) British evolutionary biologist, friend of ARW and lifelong advocate of natural selection. He did pioneering work on warning or protective colouration in animals and became Hope Professor of Zoology at the University of Oxford in 1893.

Please cite as “WCP6214,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 5 May 2021, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP6214