"I begin to feel rather dissatisfied with a mere local collection - little is to be learnt by it. I shd like to take some one family, to study thoroughly - principally with a view to the theory of the origin of species. By that means I am strongly of opinion that some definite results might be arrived at."
[From a letter sent by Wallace to Henry Walter Bates in 1847]
"...there is no more admirable character in the history of science." Sir David Attenborough
Welcome to the Wallace Correspondence Project's (WCP) website. This ongoing project aims to locate, digitize, transcribe and interpret the surviving correspondence and other manuscripts of the great 19th century naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913). Wallace has many claims to fame, not least that he is the 'father' of evolutionary biogeography and the co-discoverer with Charles Darwin of the process of evolution by natural selection. For more information about his life and work CLICK HERE.
Our policy is to make scans of Wallace's manuscripts available to users via the project's online database shortly after we obtain them. We believe that it is better that they are made accessible at the earliest possible opportunity, rather than having to wait for further work (such as transcription) to be done first. Over time the manuscripts will be transcribed by volunteers and project staff, so our database will become progressively richer and more complete. The Web interface to the project's database, Wallace Letters Online (WLO), was launched on the Internet on 24th January 2013. Highlights of the archive are discussed HERE. The project also plans to publish Wallace's correspondence as a series of volumes. We estimate that there will be 7 - 10 volumes in total, each taking perhaps 2 years to produce.
Letters make up 98% of the manuscripts in WLO. About 5,000 letters to and from Wallace survive, and these are held by c. 180 institutions or private individuals worldwide. Over half of them are in the collections of the British Library (c. 1600) and London's Natural History Museum (c. 1200). Smaller collections are present in other libraries in Britain and the United States of America, and there are a scattering of letters in other institutions and private collections across the Western world. If you know of any letters which you think we might not yet have found (e.g. letters in private collections) then we would be very grateful if you could contact us. Please CLICK HERE to send us a message.
Common variations of Wallace's name:
Wallace; Alfred Wallace; A. R. Wallace; Alfred R. Wallace; Russel Wallace; Alfred Russell Wallace [sic]
This site is maintained by George Beccaloni Director of the Wallace Correspondence Project and CEO of the Alfred Russel Wallace Trust