Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) was one of the 19th century's most remarkable intellectuals. Not only did he co-publish the theory of evolution by natural selection with Charles Darwin in 1858, but he also made many other major contributions to biology, as well as to subjects as diverse as glaciology, biogeography, land reform, anthropology, ethnography, epidemiology, and astrobiology. Add to this that he was deeply committed to and a vocal supporter of spiritualism, socialism, and the rights of the ordinary person, and it quickly becomes apparent that he was a man with an extraordinary breadth of interests who was actively engaged with many of the important issues and big questions of his day.
The goal of the Wallace Correspondence Project is to make his inspirational life and ground-breaking work better known to contemporary audiences, through the publication online of his collected correspondence and other manuscripts for the first time. This archive will be an important new primary resource for students of the history of science, cultural studies and 19th century society, and for those interested in the ongoing debate between spirituality and science. Thanks in part to the Wallace centenary celebrations of 2013 and 2014 many scholars have begun to study Wallace. Our archive will not only provide an essential resource for their work, but as with the Darwin Correspondence Project, the simple existence of an accessible archive like ours, containing much historically important previously unpublished information, will attract scholars and others, leading to the publication of technical and popular articles and books about Wallace.
The requested funding will, if granted, enable us to greatly improve the quality of data in our archive (i.e. Wallace Letters Online) and, most significantly, it will enable us to finish producing basic transcripts for all of Wallace's correspondence, allowing users to search the text of them and thereby locate letters of interest.