By George Beccaloni
Today is the 110th anniversary of Alfred Russel Wallace's death (he passed away on 7 November 1913), and to mark the occasion the Wallace Correspondence Project (WCP) has released the first ever transcript of his Last Will and Testament. A pdf can be seen here: https://wallaceletters.myspecies.info/sites/wallaceletters.myspecies.info/files/A.R.WallacesWill.WCP4791_M5171.pdf Images of the original can be viewed HERE
This is the 6,761st transcript which the project has produced, thanks to the hard work of 172 volunteers and 14 project staff over many years. They are available free of charge from the project's online Epsilon archive (click HERE). If these were printed in the same format as The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, they would fill ten 600 page volumes. Unfortunately, the project's transcripts still need a lot of work before they are of publishable quality, and the project currently has no funding to employ people to do this work. Fortunately the project is still slowly 'ticking over', thanks to donations from SeaTrek Sailing Adventures, which enable George Beccaloni, the project's Director, to spend a day a week working on the project (e.g. answering email enquiries, finding letters new to the project, cataloguing new letters etc). George lectures on Wallace-related boutique cruises on SeaTrek's ship Ombak Putih in Indonesia several times a year. Click HERE for more information.
According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) Wallace's wealth at the time of his death was £5823 0s. 6d. This amounts to about £250,738.38 (GBP) in today's money. It is interesting to contrast this with the wealth of his friend and colleague Charles Darwin. According to the ODNB, Darwin's wealth when he died in 1882 was £146,911 7s. 10d, which equates to a whopping £7,097,270.41 (GBP) in today's money! Darwin's Will can be seen here:- http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?viewtype=side&itemID=YorkProbateSubRegistry&pageseq=1
Shortly after Wallace's death a large number of newspapers around the world published obituary notices, some of which are listed HERE. My favourite is a not really an obituary, but a photographic tribute to the great man, which was printed on November 15, 1913 in The Graphic, an illustrated British newspaper.