Our Own Thoreau, Hardy John Muir.

Our Own Thoreau, Hardy John Muir.


John Muir


Kimes Entry Number


Original Date


William and Maymie Kimes Annotation

Reporter Juliet Wilbor Tompkins was concerned about the slaughter of birds for the purpose of pot-pies and the decoration of women's hats. Encouraged to see the ""California Thoreau,"" she interviewed him in his Martinez study. In response to her distress about the slaughter of birds, Muir comments: ""I say it's an infernal shame. Why there isn't a woman who could sit by and see you kill a bird to trim her up with. It isn't cruelty; it's thoughtlessness. Laws won't do much good unless they're backed up by public opinion, and to rouse that you've got to organize your sympathizers into a public body. . . . I found that out in the matter of protecting the trees in Yosemite. Here I was crying in the wilderness for twenty years, and not the faintest impression could I make. The papers printed my articles, and people said, 'Oh, yes, John Muir-he's romantic!' or, 'Very pretty ideas, but he doesn't understand sheep-raising.' Finally several of us joined together and formed the Sierra Club, and we found that that could do what none of us could accomplish alone. Impress people with your importance as a body, and then they'll listen to you."" In this long interview Muir relates the establishment of YosemiteNational Park, his trip with a sled on Muir Glacier, and much about trees. When asked what his next book would be, he replies, ""Reading about a thing isn't the same as seeing it. . . . Books are unnatural things, anyway. I don't know whether I shall write any more or not.""


Unidentified clipping


For a complete reprint of this interview see nos. A38 and A39.


Csto C

Our Own Thoreau, Hardy John Muir.