Although the primary aim of the Wallace Correspondence Project is (as its name suggests) to digitise Wallace's surviving correspondence, the project has also digitized a selection of his other important manuscripts e.g. all of the notebooks in the Natural History Museum's Wallace Family Archive (for more information CLICK HERE).
The Wallace Correspondence Project is looking for dedicated volunteers to help us transcribe letters written by Wallace, as well as letters sent to him from his many correspondents. Ideally we would like volunteers who already have experience of transcribing (sometimes difficult) Victorian handwriting, but enthusiasm and persistence are more important, and we will provide a palaeography guide!
We are delighted to announce that the Wallace Correspondence Project recently received a substantial grant from the Alfred Russel Wallace Centenary Celebration, directed by Richard Milner, a project which is funded by the John Templeton Foundation, USA (note that a slideshow of the Wallace Centenary Celebration's recent all-day event at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, featuring a lecture by Sir David Attenborough, can be seen HERE
The Project's transcription protocol has been 'tidied up' considerably and slightly altered - please download the new version (version 16.4) by CLICKING HERE
As all involved with the WCP will know, the project's Archivist Caroline Catchpole sadly had to leave the project in October 2013 because her husband needed to move to New York because of his work. We advertised the position in November, interviewed candidates in December, and offered the job to Ruth Benny (right) who began work on the 13th January 2014. Welcome Ruth - we hope your time on the project will be enjoyable and rewarding!
I had been looking forward to reading John van Wyhe and Kees Rookmaaker's new book Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters from the Malay Archipelago as the adverts for it state that it contains "recently discovered letters".
This month’s selected letter from Wallace Letters Online was written on 16 August 1892, when Wallace was 69 years old, to Henry Deane.
Deane, an engineer who was born in London in 1847, had emigrated to Australia in 1879 and was responsible for electrifying the Sydney tramway system, and for building the Wolgan Valley Railway and Trans-Australian Railway. Deane graduated from Queen’s College, Galway, with honours in mathematics and natural sciences and later in life was twice president of the Royal Society New South Wales and was also president of the Linnean Society of New South Wales.
This month’s selected letter in my 'Letter of the Month' series was written by Wallace to his mother, Mary, from Java on 20 July 1861, just as his Malay Archipelago adventure was coming to an end. The opening sentence reveals his plans:
“I am as you will see now commencing my retreat westwards I have left the wild and savage Moluccas & New Guinea for Java the garden of the East & probably without any exception the finest island in the world.”
This month’s selected letter was written on 26 June 1898 to Michael Flürscheim (1844-1912), a German economist who worked on economic and social reforms that focused on the single tax, land nationalisation and an improved currency. This letter highlights Wallace’s involvement in socialism; an area he became very involved in later in his life.
The short letter begins with Wallace expressing regret that Flürscheim has moved to New Zealand and also that he has, as Wallace writes
CLICK HERE to see a 9 minute video about the Wallace Correspondence Project and our Web database Wallace Letters Online. It is a talk I did as part of the Natural History Museum's Informatics Day on the 24th July 2013.