The Wallace Literary Estate

Under UK copyright law, literary works (for example letters and notebooks) authored by Alfred Russel Wallace which were unpublished at the time of his death on November 7th 1913, remain in copyright until 20391. This copyright is owned by the executors of Alfred Russel Wallace's Literary Estate, namely Wallace's grandsons, Mr Richard Russel Wallace and Mr Alfred John Russel Wallace and Dr George Beccaloni. Anyone wishing to publish such works (whether commercially or non-commercially) must obtain permission in writing from the executors before doing so. The authorised contact for all enquiries relating to the Literary Estate is George Beccaloni.

Note that the executors will ordinarily only grant permission to publish Wallace's copyrighted literary works on condition that the publisher agrees to assign all intellectual property rights in the works, including copyright in the typographical arrangement of the works, to the executors of Alfred Russel Wallace's Literary Estate.

This notice supersedes all previous notices and agreements.

Additional Information

  • The executors of Alfred Russel Wallace Literary Estate do not own the physical copies of ARW’s manuscript works, and the owners of these manuscripts have control over access to them. Owners may choose to levy their own charges to supply images or other copies of the manuscripts they own and any copyright in images of such manuscripts (but not in the literary work itself) will belong to their creators.
  • Any agreements relating to the copyright of ARW’s manuscript works made between May 6th 1951 and July 31st 2011, must have been made jointly by both Mr Richard Russel Wallace and Mr Alfred John Russel Wallace for them to be legally binding.
  • The executors of the Alfred Russel Wallace Literary Estate are not aware of any cases where the copyright of ARW’s copyright manuscript works is owned by third parties. The assignment of copyright to third parties is possible, but it would require the written agreement of all executors of the Literary Estate.
  • The above policy came into force on 1st November 2013. It was introduced because of the abuse of the previous policy by a commercial publisher.


1Unless the work was published with the permission of the executors before 1 August 1989, in which case the work will be in copyright for 70 years after Wallace's death, unless he died more than 20 years before the work's publication, in which case copyright would expire 50 years after publication.

Changes to these terms and conditions

We may revise these terms and conditions at any time by amending this page.

Please check this page from time to time to take notice of any changes we made, as they are binding on you.

The executors of Alfred Russel Wallace's Literary Estate would like to thank Tim Padfield for his help in drafting the notice above. For a comprehensive overview of UK copyright law, especially in relation to unpublished materials, see Tim's excellent book

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith