Honours Wallace Received

By George Beccaloni


Wallace received an impressive number of honours during his lifetime, the most prestigious being the Order of Merit from King Edward VII in 1908. His greatest scientific honours were the 7 medals he was awarded, the most important of which was the Copley Medal of the Royal Society (their highest award).

Medals He Received

Copyright Bill Wallace

1868 (30 November): Royal Medal of the Royal Society. (Awarded "For his labours in practical and theoretical zoology", including his 1858 Ternate paper on natural selection. He was nominated by T. H. Huxley). For more information CLICK HERE

Wallace's Royal Medal. Copyright Wallace Memorial Fund.

1870: Gold Medal, Société de Géographie.

Gold Medal of the Société de Géographie. Copyright Wallace Memorial Fund.

1890 (1 December): Darwin Medal of the Royal Society. (Awarded "For his independent origination of the theory of the origin of species by natural selection". Wallace was the first recipient of this medal).

Wallace's Royal Society Darwin Medal. Copyright Wallace Memorial fund.

1892 (23 May): Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. (Awarded "...in recognition of the high geographical value of his great works, 'The Geographical Distribution of Animals,' 'Island Life,' and 'The Malay Archipelago.'")

Wallace's Founder's Medal. Copyright Wallace Memorial Fund.

1892 (24 May): Gold Medal of the Linnean Society (now known as the Linnean Medal). (Awarded in recognition of his contributions to the literature of zoology, and specially for his work on the origin of species.)

Wallace's Gold Medal of the Linnean Society. Copyright Wallace Memorial Fund.

1908 (1 July): Gold Darwin-Wallace Medal of the Linnean Society of London. (Wallace was the first recipient of this medal, and his was the only gold version ever made). More information about the medal can be found HERE

Darwin-Wallace Medal. Darwin side.Darwin-Wallace Medal. Wallace side.

Wallace's Darwin-Wallace medal. Copyright Wallace Memorial Fund.

1908 (30 November): Copley Medal of the Royal Society (in silver and in gold). (Awarded "On the ground of the great value of his numerous contributions to natural history, and of the part he took in working out the theory of the origin of species by natural selection." This is the highest award of the Royal Society.)

Wallace's gold Copley Medal. Copyright Wallace Memorial Fund.

1908 (14 December): Order of Merit. (Awarded "in recognition of the great services which you have rendered to Science." The order has been described as "quite possibly, the most prestigious honour one can receive on planet Earth." There are only 24 living individuals in the order at any given time, not including honorary appointees, and new members are personally selected by the reigning monarch.) For more information click HERE

Wallace's Order of Merit. Copyright Wallace Memorial Fund.

Note that Charles Darwin was also awarded the Royal and Copley Medals of the Royal Society in 1853 and 1864 respectively. He also received two others: the Baly Medal of the Royal College of Physicians (1879) and the Wollaston Medal of the Geological Society (1859).

Assorted Honours

1879 (28 July): Freedom of the City of London.

Alfred Russel Wallace's Freedom of the City of London.

1882 (26 April): Pall Bearer at Darwin's funeral at Westminster Abbey.

1882 (29 June): LL.D. (Doctor of Laws) from Trinity College, University of Dublin. On the recommendation of Rev. Samuel Haughton, senior lecturer in geology. See HERE

Wallace in his LL.D. robes

ARW in his LL.D. robes

1889 (26 November): D.C.L. (Doctor of Civil Law) from Oxford University.

Note that Wallace declined honorary degrees from Cambridge University (in 1894) and the University of Wales (in 1902)!

Honorary (Elected) Memberships

Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia: Elected a Corresponding Member on 31 January 1893. See HERE and HERE

American Ornithologists' Union: Elected an Honorary Member in 1883 and an Honorary Fellow in 1905. See HERE

American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia: Elected a Member on 18 April 1873. See HERE and HERE

Anthropological Society of Washington: Elected an Honorary Member on 15 February 1887. See HERE

Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta: Elected an Honorary Member on 7 February 1883. See HERE

Austrian Zoological-Botanical Society, Vienna: Elected a Honorary Member on 1 March 1901. See HERE

British National Association of Spiritualists: Elected an Honorary Member in 1876. See HERE

Brooklyn Ethical Association: Elected an Honorary Corresponding Member in c. 1894-1895. See HERE

Central Association of Spiritualists, London: Elected an Honorary Member on 13 June 1882. See HERE

Cheshire Society of Natural Science: Honorary Member c. 1897. See HERE

Chester Society of Natural Science, Literature & Art, Chester, England: Elected as an Honorary Member in ? See HERE

Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club: Elected an Honorary Member in 1909. See HERE

Dutch Society of Sciences, Haarlem: Elected as a Foreign Member in 1883. See HERE

Essex Field Club, UK: Elected as an Honorary Member 10 January 1880. See HERE

Hertfordshire Natural History Society and Field Club: Elected an Honorary Member in 1896. See HERE

Indiana Academy of Science: Foreign Correspondent c. 1898. See HERE

New Zealand Institute (now Royal Society of New Zealand): Elected an Honorary Member of 3 February 1885. See HERE

Royal Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences, Jakarta, Indonesia: Elected a Corresponding Member on 1 June 1878. See HERE

Royal Dutch Geographical Society:  Elected an Honorary Member in October 1883. See HERE

Royal Irish Academy, Dublin: Elected an Honorary Member on 16 March 1908. See HERE

Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland (Societas Regia Edinensis): Elected an Honorary Member on 7 November 1910. See HERE

Royal Society, London: Elected a Fellow in June 1893. See HERE. He had at first refused fellowship, but Thistleton-Dyer and Huxley eventually persuaded him to accept.

Royal Society of New South Wales, Sydney: Elected an Honorary Member on 3 July 1895. see HERE

Royal Society of Sciences, Upsala: Elected a Member in 1893. See HERE

Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (Regia Scientiarum Academia Suecica): Elected an Honorary Member 1 February 1907. See HERE

Société de Géographie, France: Elected a Corresponding Member on 22 April 1887. See HERE

Società Geografica Italiana, Italy: Elected an Honorary Member in c. 1890. See HERE

Société Scientifique "Antonio Alzate", Mexico: Elected an Honorary Member on 1 March 1896. See HERE

Society for Psychical Research: Elected an Honorary Member in c. 1903. See HERE

Zoological Society of London: Elected a Fellow in 1862. See HERE

Wallace was also an 'ordinary' member of a number of other societies and other organisations i.e. Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland (elected to the Council in 1873?); Anthropological Society of London; Anti-Vaccination League; British Association for the Advancement of Science (elected in 1863); British Ornithologists' Union; Croydon Microscopical and Natural History Club; Entomological Society of London (elected 1 June 1863); Ethnological Society of London (elected in 1866 and was a Council member in 1869-1870); Ethological Society (London); Humanitarian League (possibly - see HERE); Kington Mechanic's Institution (1840's); Land Nationalisation Society; Land Tenure Reform Assocation (member of their General Council)Linnean Society of London (elected a Fellow in 1872); London Spiritualist Alliance; Neath Mechanics Institute; Royal Geographical Society (elected a Fellow on 27 February 1854).

Positions Held

1863: Appointed to a committee to review the rules of zoological nomenclature that had been set up by Hugh E. Strickland in 1842. See HERE
August 1869: Vice-president, Section D (Biology) of the British Association's August 1869 meetings at Exeter. See HERE
1869: Apointed to the Committee on Spiritualism of the London Dialectical Society.
1870 - 1872: President of the Entomological Society of London.
1872: Appointed to the H.M.S. Challenger Expedition Circumnavigation Committee formed by the Royal Society to advise the Admiralty about what research should be done and where. See HERE
September 1876:  President, Section D (Biology) of the British Association for the Advancement of Science annual meetings. See HERE
March 1881: First president of the newly established Land Nationalisation Society. See HERE
1893: Vice-president of the Chrysanthemum and Horticultural Society, Parkstone. See HERE
16 June 1904: Vice-president of the London Library. See HERE
October 1904: Vice-president of the Ethological Society. See HERE
January 1907 - November 1913: Honorary president of the Bournemouth National Spiritualist Church. See HERE
Branksome and District Anti-Compulsory Vaccination Society: Vice-president in ?. See HERE
ARW was possibly a vice-president of the London Society for the Abolition of Compulsory Vaccination starting in March 1884. See HERE
Posthumous Awards and Honours

1996: Wallace became the seventh person whose name is enshrined at the Monument to Human Spiritual Rights at the Red Rock Consecrated Sanctuary in Nevada. Earlier enshrinees were Mohandas Gandhi, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Kahlil Gibran, Nikola Tesla, Gustaf Stromberg, and Carl Jung; since that time the names of Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., and Ralph Waldo Emerson have been added.

2013: Awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Instution of Chartered Surveyors.

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