AboutZoos, Since 2008


All Alfred Rus­sel Wallace’s let­ters now online

pub­lished 29 Jan­u­ary 2013 | mod­i­fied 29 Jan­u­ary 2013

WallaceAn online archive called, Wal­lace Let­ters Online (WLO), giv­ing every­one access to the cor­re­spon­dence of Alfred Rus­sel Wal­lace, co-​discoverer of the the­ory of evo­lu­tion by nat­ural selec­tion, has been launched on Jan­u­ary 24 by come­dian and nat­u­ral­ist Bill Bai­ley at the Nat­ural His­tory Museum. Bai­ley will also be launch­ing Wallace100, a pro­gramme of events to mark the cen­te­nary of Wallace’s death, by unveil­ing an impres­sive por­trait of Wal­lace in the Museum’s iconic Cen­tral Hall, near the famous statue of Dar­win.

WLO brings together all sur­viv­ing let­ters to and from Wal­lace, both per­sonal and schol­arly, for the first time.His unpub­lished cor­re­spon­dence is scat­tered across the col­lec­tions of more than 100 insti­tu­tions world­wide so it has been very dif­fi­cult for peo­ple to study, until now.

High­lights in WLO include the fas­ci­nat­ing let­ters he wrote and received dur­ing his epic trip to the Malay Arch­i­pel­ago between 1854 and 1862, and his com­plete cor­re­spon­dence with Charles Dar­win, which has never been pub­lished in full before. Online mate­ri­als will also include other impor­tant doc­u­ments, such as Wallace’s note­books from the Museum’s Wal­lace Fam­ily Archive.

Alfred Rus­sel Wal­lace is con­sid­ered by many to be one of the great­est sci­en­tists of all time. Not only did he inde­pen­dently dis­cover nat­ural selec­tion, he also founded the sci­ence of evo­lu­tion­ary bio­geog­ra­phy; the study of the geo­graph­i­cal dis­tri­b­u­tion of plants and ani­mals. He made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to aca­d­e­mic fields as diverse as anthro­pol­ogy and epi­demi­ol­ogy, and was an intre­pid trav­eller and avid col­lec­tor of nat­ural his­tory spec­i­mens who sent back thou­sands of species new to sci­ence from South Amer­ica and south-​east Asia.

More infor­ma­tion

The above news item is reprinted from mate­ri­als avail­able at Nat­ural His­tory Museum (NHM). Orig­i­nal text may be edited for con­tent and length.
(Source: NHM Nature­PLus blog­post, 24.01.2013)

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