by Matthew Cobb
For several years now, the Darwin On Line website has published an amazing wealth of Darwiniana, including his books, letters, notes, private papers and so on. Now the man who many think should be consistently co-credited with the discovery of the theory of evolution by natural selection – Alfred Russel Wallace – has his own eponymous and compendious on-line site.
Wallace Online describes itself as
the first complete edition of the writings of naturalist and co-founder of the theory of evolution Alfred Russel Wallace. Including a comprehensive compilation of his specimens - much of it never before seen.
A remarkable amount of work has gone into this site – it contains 28,000 pages of searchable historical documents and 25,442 images. This breaks down as follows:
Wallace books: 13,205 pages
Shorter publications: 4,743 pages
Manuscripts: 26 pages
Supplementary works: 9,650 pages
It is a treasure trove for anyone interested in Wallace, Darwin, or the wildlife of south-east Asia.
Here are a couple of striking examples you can unearth with a few clicks:
On a topical note, there is also a copy of one of Wallace’s final works (1907), Is Mars habitable? A critical examination of Professor Percival Lowell’s Book “Mars and its canals,” with an alternative explanation.
The project is directed by John van Wyhe, assisted by Kees Rookmaaker, at the National University of Singapore, in collaboration with the Wallace Page by Charles H. Smith.
Head on over there and mooch around! Any students or scholars interested in comparing and contrasting the ideas of Wallace and Darwin will find it invaluable. For the rest of us it provides an amazing resource to explore Wallace’s work.