The Wallace Correspondence Project Begins!

I am very pleased to christen the Wallace Correspondence Project's (WCP) News blog with this post. The purpose of this blog is to keep visitors to this site up-to-date with the progress of the project and to report interesting information we happen to discover about Wallace as we work on his correspondence. We will be reading and summarising letters as we obtain scans of them and since much of this correspondence has never been studied by historians in any detail, we are bound to uncover some interesting and hitherto unknown things about the life and work of the great man. Watch this space!

The WCP officially started just under a month ago on the 18th October 2010 and I am delighted to report that very good progress has already been made. Things we have been doing include: deciding upon protocols for scanning, how to name files etc, developing this Web site, and talking to people running similar correspondence projects, notably the Darwin Correspondence Project and Transcribe Bentham. Anna Mayer, our Archivist, has been editing and expanding a list of repositories of Wallace correspondence, which I compiled over the last two years with much help from various generous colleagues, and I have been designing the project database. Our colleagues Polly Parry and Daisy Cunynghame from the Natural History Museum's Archives have kindly given us the metadata from the Archive's CALM catalogue for much of the Wallace correspondence which the NHM owns and I have been formatting these data so that they can be entered into our project database. We hope to begin scanning letters in December or January and we will start with those in the NHM's Wallace Family Archive, which contains perhaps 1000 letters.

The idea of the WCP was first conceived some time ago in 2008 (see http://wallacefund.info/announcing-wallace-correspondence-project) and I am delighted that it is now a reality!

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