Wallace, Alfred Russel, 1823-1913

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Exist Dates

January 8, 1823 - November 7, 1913

Biographical or Historical Note

Alfred Russel Wallace was an English naturalist most famous for having independently developed the theory of natural selection before Darwin published his On the origin of species (1859). With Henry Walter Bates, Wallace made two major exploring expeditions: to the Amazon Basin, 1848-1852; and Indonesia and the Malay Archipelago, 1854-1862, both undertaken in order to study the questions of natural variation and evolution of species. Wallace's South American collection was lost in a shipwreck, leaving him with no evidence to support any publications; but his findings during his Indonesian trip led Wallace to publish an influential paper in 1855. His 1858 memoir sent from Maluku, Indonesia (Moluccas), had a powerful influence on Darwin and pushed him towards publication of his own work. During the 1880s, Wallace lectured on evolution, touring the United States in 1886-87. He published approximately 400 articles and over 20 books in his lifetime, including Geographical distribution of animals (1876), Island life (1880), and Darwinism (1889). Wallace's scientific views on evolution became increasingly influenced by his religious beliefs in his later years.


    Library of Congress Name Authority File
    From biographical note for Wallace's archive collection at the AMNH Library, Mss .W3551, written by Ann Herendeen.

Related Corporate, Personal, and Family Names

American Museum of Natural History

Related Resources

Alfred Russel Wallace correspondence, 1890-1914
Repository: AMNH Special Collections, Mss .W3551

Written by: Iris Lee
Last modified: 2018 October 5


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