Ref NoMS/184
TitleAnnotated copy of Swainson's 'Geography and classification of animals' - A.R. Wallace
AdminHistoryWilliam John Swainson (1789 - 1855), was an English ornithologist, malacologist, conchologist, entomologist and artist. Swainson was a member of many learned societies, including the Linnean Society (1816), the Wernerian Society of Edinburgh, and the Royal Society (1820).

Swainson was born on 8 October 1789 in Dover Place, St Mary Newington, London, the eldest son of John Timothy Swainson, an original fellow of the Linnean Society. He was cousin of the amateur botanist Isaac Swainson. His father's family originated in Lancashire, and both grandfather and father held high posts in Her Majesty's Customs, the father becoming Collector at Liverpool. Swainson’s formal education was impeded because he had a speech difficulty, but despite this he got his education at Lancaster Grammar School. He first chose to join the Liverpool Customs when he was 15 where he was a junior clerk. After that, he became a member of the Army Commissariat, and during that time he was able to tour Sicily and Malta. In 1815 he was forced to return to England due to ill health where he subsequently retired on half pay.

Swainson had a keen interest in exploration and documenting nature and in 1806 he went to accompany Henry Koster, a British explorer who was then going to Brazil. Koster stayed in Brazil and became famous for his published book called Travels in Brazil. During Swainson’s time there, he also had the chance to meet Dr. GrigoriIvanovitch Langsdorff who was one of the consul generals of Russia who had also been exploring Brazil when Swainson was there. Although he did not spend much time there because of the revolution, he went back to the UK with more than 20,000 insect samples, 1,200 plant species, 760 different bird skins, and more than a hundred drawings of many different fish species for which he became known for. His other explorations happened in Italy and Greece which allowed him to further his knowledge and specimen collection on fish and flowers of the Mediterranean.

Swainson had two wives, the first one being Mary Parkes whom he married in 1823. They had four sons and one daughter. Mary died in 1835. Five years later, Swainson remarried. The second marriage was in 1840 and this was to Ann Grasby. He emigrated to New Zealand in 1841 where he became involved in property as well as the New Zealand Company and the Church of England committee for the appointment of a bishop to New Zealand. In 1851 Swainson sailed to Sydney and took the post of Botanical Surveyor in 1852 with the Victoria Government, after being invited by the Lieutenant-Governor Charles La Trobe to study local trees. He had studied the flora of New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania before his return to New Zealand in 1854 to live at Fern Grove in the Hutt, where he died the following year, on 6 December 1855.
Alfred Russel Wallace (1823 – 1913) was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist, and biologist. He is best known for independently conceiving the theory of evolution through natural selection; his paper on the subject was jointly published with some of Charles Darwin's writings in 1858.

Wallace was born in Kensington Cottage near Usk, Monmouthshire, England on 8 January 1823 to Thomas Vere Wallace and Mary Ann Wallace (née Greenell), the eighth of nine children, three of whom did not survive to adulthood. In 1828 the family moved to Hertford and Wallace attended Hale's Grammar School. In c. 1835 the family's financial situation took a turn for the worse. As a result, Wallace was forced to leave school at age 14 and go and live with his older brother, John, who was working in London as a carpenter. By 1837 Wallace moved to Bedfordshire to live and work with his eldest brother, William, who owned a land-surveying company. In 1841 the brothers moved to Neath, Wales, where Wallace began to develop an interest in natural history. In 1843, following a decrease in the amount of surveying work available, Wallace applied to the Collegiate School in Leicester where he taught drafting, surveying, English, and arithmetic.

In 1847 - 1848 Wallace suggested to his friend, Henry Walter Bates, that they travel to Brazil to collect specimens of birds, insects and other animals which they can sell to collectors and for their own private collections. Wallace had been inspired by W. H. Edward's book 'A Voyage Up the River Amazon'. He also wanted to look in to the theory of evolution, which he had become interested in after reading Robert Chambers' anonymously published book 'Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation', which discussed the theory of evolution (then known as transmutation). The two men set off by ship from Liverpool to Pará (Belém) on the 26 April 1848, arriving on the 28 May. After only a few months they had a disagreement and decided to collect in different areas with Wallace focussing his activities in the middle Amazon and Rio Negro. Whilst there he drafted a map of this mighty river using the skills he had learnt as a land surveyor which was later published by the Royal Geographical Society. In 1852 Wallace decided to return to Britain due to ill health but a fire on the return ship home meant that the majority of his notes and specimens were destroyed. Wallace and his crew were rescued after 10 days of drifting on the open sea.

In 1854 Wallace went on a second collecting expedition to the Malay Archipelago (now Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and East Timor) with a young assistant, Charles Allen. Wallace spent nearly eight years in the region, undertaking sixty or seventy separate journeys resulting in a combined total of around 14,000 miles of travel. He collected almost 110,000 insects, 7500 shells, 8050 bird skins, and 410 mammal and reptile specimens, including probably more than 5000 species new to science. In February 1855 Wallace wrote a paper called "Sarawak Law" which looked at the subject of evolution. In February 1858 the idea of natural selection as the mechanism of evolutionary change occurred to Wallace and he wrote a detailed essay explaining his theory. He sent this, along with a covering letter, to Charles Darwin, who he knew from correspondence was interested in the subject of evolution. Wallace asked Darwin to pass the essay on to Charles Lyell, an influential scientist of day, if Darwin thought it was sufficiently interesting. Darwin, who had been working on the same theory for the past 20 years, immediately sought advice from his friends, Lyella and Joseph Hooker. They decided to present Wallace's essay (without his knowledge), along with two unpublished excerpts from Darwin's writings on the subject, to a meeting of the Linnean Society of London on 1 July 1858. These documents were published together in the Society's journal on 20 August of the same year as the paper "On the Tendency of Species to Form Varieties; And On the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection".

Wallace returned to England 4 years later in 1862 and in the spring of 1866 he married Annie, the twenty-year-old daughter of his friend the botanist William Mitten. Two of their children, Violet and William, survived to adulthood, whilst a third (Herbert Spencer) died in infancy. He spent the rest of his life defending and promoting the theory of natural selection and working on a very wide variety of other subjects. He wrote more than 1000 articles and 22 books, the best known being The Malay Archipelago, The Geographical Distribution of Animals, Island Life and Darwinism. Honours awarded for the many important contributions he made to biology, geography, geology and anthropology include: the Gold Medal (Société de Géographie); the Founder's Medal (Royal Geographical Society); the Darwin-Wallace and Linnean Gold Medals (Linnean Society); the Copley, Darwin and Royal Medals (Royal Society); and the Order of Merit (the greatest honor that can be given to a civilian by the ruling British monarch).

He died at his home in Broadstone on 7 November 1913.
DescriptionCopy of William Swainson's 'A Treatise on the geography and classification of animals' with copious annotations by A.R. Wallace. Also includes 7 inserted drawings of shells, fossils, a bird (Apteryx australis - [Southern Brown Kiwi]) a Chaeriptus Ecaudatus [Chaeropus ecaudatus - Pig-footed bandicoot, thought to now be extinct] and prehistoric animals, including a Palaeotherium Magnum, a P. [Palaeotherium] Minus, a Deinotherium, a Anoplotherium Gracile and a A. [Anoplotherium] Commune.

Flyleaf signed and dated 'Alfred R. Wallace Septr 30th 1842'.
Extent1 bound volume
AcquisitionPresented to the Linnean Society by Thomas Henry Riches of Shenley, Herts, from the library of Alfred Russel Wallace in 1915.
Creator NameSwainson, William
Wallace, Alfred Russel
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