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Alfred Russel Wallace letters

By: Vanessa Finney, Category: Museullaneous, Date: 09 Dec 2010

An enquiry from a researcher at the Natural History Museum in London has meant new scans of some fascinating 1892 correspondence between Australian Museum conchologist Charles Hedley and Alfred Russel Wallace.

Alfred Russel Wallace to Charles Hedley July 1892 p1

 © Australian Museum

Charles Hedley was born in Masham, Yorkshire in 1862 and moved to Australia for his health at the age of twenty. Here he took on a variety of work and pursued his interest in natural history until an injured arm left him unfit for manual labour. In 1889 he moved to Brisbane and was appointed to the staff of the Queensland Museum. His main interest was land shells and he soon moved to Sydney to develop his scientific career at the Australian Museum.

These letters from Wallace relate to Hedley's recently-published paper 'The Land Molluscan Fauna of British New Guinea', Proc Linn Soc NSW (2) 1891and his soon-to-be-published 'The Range of Plastostylus: a Study in Ancient Geography' Proc Linn Soc (2) vii, 1893. In the second of these letters, Wallace hotly disputes Hedley's theory of of the range and distribution of Plastostylus.