173 years after it was written - almost to the day - this letter is the first to pass through our Editorial Process from start to finish!
Alfred Russel Wallace wrote to Henry Walter Bates on the 26th June 1845, listing the insect specimens he was sending. You can see the finished transcript here!
Our Editorial Process involves more than simply transcribing the documents. It involves checking, double-checking, triple-checking, spell-checking, and fact-checking. We need to format the transcripts consistently, research the endnotes, and proofread everything.
This letter was originally transcribed by Alison Tew in 2006. The transcript was subsequently checked by Elizabeth Parfitt and Jenny Hill in 2012, and again by Caroline Catchpole in 2013.
In this phase of the project, Helen has researched and written the endnotes. Finally, the whole thing has been edited and approved by George ready for publication in Volume 1 of The Correspondence of Alfred Russel Wallace.
Many more letters are in the pipeline, at varying stages of completion. But this very first "Third Level" transcript seemed like a landmark worth sharing!
In any project, the first go-through always takes the longest because of all the incremental decision-making involved. For example, where Wallace used scientific names that are no longer current, we have decided that we are not going to be updating them. However, we will be checking Wallace's spellings of scientific names against 19th Century sources.
We have also had a lot of decisions to make about the Editorial Process itself. And this has meant quite a few updates to our Transcription Protocol. But from now on, the transcripts will be coming in thick and fast and we look forward to keeping you up-to-date on our progress!
Thanks to everyone for their hard work so far, and here's to the next 599 needed for volume 1!
Wallace's signature on this letter.
Charlotte (WCP Archivist)