Samuel Butler and Alfred Russel Wallace: a Case of Mistaken Identity

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? Here is the letter, which was published on pages 126-127 of Jones, H. F. 1919. Samuel Butler, Author of Erewhon (1835-1902): A Memoir. Vol. 1. London: Macmillan and Co.:

This reminds me of another case of mistaken identity involving Darwin and Wallace: in 2004 Barnes & Noble published The Autobiography of Charles Darwin but printed a photo of Wallace on the cover instead! When someone noticed the error the book was quickly withdrawn from sale and presumable destroyed. I am delighted that I managed to get a copy - see below!

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