Danniella (Danni) Sherwood joins the Wallace Correspondence Project as Project Coordinator, replacing Katrina van Grouw. Danni is an arachnologist with research interests focused primarily on the taxonomy and systematics of the spider family Theraphosidae (tarantulas).
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"...the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.." Thomas Henry Huxley, 1870
"...[the] whole fabric totters & falls." Charles Darwin, 1838
Although the Wallace Correspondence Project (WCP) has been running for 6.5 years and we regularly search online catalogues of archives around the world (as well as auctions and private collections) for letters and other manuscripts new to us, we keep on finding new items all the time and I sometimes wonder whether we will ever discover all or even most of them! I guess the answer is provided by the Darwin Correspondence Project, which has been running for more than 40 years and has many more staff than we do.
For the last two months, myself (George, the project's Director) and Matt (the project's full-time Researcher) have been redesigning the project's workflow and computer systems so there is now no need for a project office and the team can work at separate locations anywhere in the world. Although our freelancers and volunteers have always done this, the project relied on a core team which had to be based in an office, which was networked using a NAS (Network-Attached Storage) i.e. a server computer which 'lived' in a cupboard under the office's stairs.
Text of an article recently published in the Newsletter of the Society for the History of Natural History:
Progress of the A. R. Wallace Correspondence Project (WCP)
Phase 2 of the WCP began in December 2017 and it has been running smoothly thanks to considerable help from The Charles Darwin Trust (http://www.charlesdarwintrust.org) who helped to set the project up and who are managing our grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
*THE SCENTS OF THE SPICE ISLANDS*
A CRUISE FROM AMBON TO TERNATE ISLANDS, EASTERN INDONESIA
12 days/11 nights
16 - 27 September 2019
Matt Beros, the WCP's Researcher, recently found an amusing mention of Wallace in a published letter from the famous Victorian novelist Samuel Butler (1835-1902) to Sir Julius von Haast (1822-1887), a geologist who founded the Canterbury Museum at Christchurch, New Zealand. It seems that Butler purchased a photo which he thought was Darwin and sent it to von Haast. Only later when he met Wallace by chance at a friend's house did he realise the photo was actually Wallace. I wonder whether this mislabelled photo is in the archives of the Canterbury Museum?
Read on if you want to know an interesting fact about Wallace's personal life which no biographer has yet discovered! The Wallace Correspondence Project is currently hard at work on volume 1 of Wallace's correspondence which will contain all early letters to and from him up until March 1862 when he returned from the 'Malay Archipelago'.