Charles N. Elliot


John Muir


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CHARLES N. ELLIOT ARCHITECT325 FAILING BUILDINGPORTLAND, OREGONDecember 30,1912.Dear Mr.Muir:-Thank you for your kind letter of the 24th inst. and for your generous offer to see that I obtain a copy of your tribute to E.H.Harriman. I would greatly appreciate your assistance in this, as I fear otherwise,I will not be able to get a copy.I had our City Librarian send for a copy for the Library,and when it came,read it with great interest..I did not ask her (Miss.Isom,our Librarian) to try for a copy for me,as I did not like to get one by round-about methods.Doubleday,Page & Co..however,have the little book for free distribution to libraries only,and none for sale.I am particularly anxious to obtain this tribute to one of America's greatest constructive men,one who not only did things,but who Imagined things. Who but a man of great heart and live imagination would ever have conceived the idea of the Alaskan Expedition? That was truly an Homeric idea as smoothly carried into execution as were all of that wonderful man's plans.I want to tell you how thoroughly I am enjoying your autobiographical chapters,now appearing in the Atlantic.Much innthis last chapter reminds me of my boyhood days in Southern Ohio,where I lived on a small farm,do|ng my share of the haying,milking,tending poultry, making rail fences and later wire fences,hoeing potatoes,and all the multitudinous chores incident to such a life.How I enjoyed it - even the work! I have seen instances of reasoning on the part of farm animals just as convincing as the case of your ox which crushed the pumpkins with his brow. And on the part of the "wee beasties",I have records,in the note books I kept f ormyown pleasure during the later years in Ohio,showing that birds and the>smaller animals possess what seems very like what we call reason in human beings.I know that they possess deeper feelings than most humans.There was the case,for example,of the two little indigo buntings found dead by the grassy lane on my father's place,one mangled by some thoughtless boy's deadly "sling-shot",the other lying with his head on his mate's body,and with not a mark of violence upon him.It made us weep,who discovered them.If that was not a clear case of broken-heart,or death from intensity of grief,I cannot think of any other reasonable explanation.I have copied a few extracts from one of my note books for a friend in the East,and made a few carbon copies,one of which I enclose, thinking you might be interested by such glimpses of Ohio Valley life as I have transcribed.One thing you mention in your last Atlantic chapter,which I have found mention of in very few of our nature books,the omission of which has always appeared strange to me,is the description of the "lightning-bugs".Your word picture brought to memory the rich meadow on my father's place,over which floated every summer evening a myriad throng of these strange and wonderful insects.Who has ever been able to analyze the chemistry of their fitful fire? Such explanations as I have found,fail utterly to satisfy me as to this nervous phosphoresence.I am sending you under another cover a little calendar,the head on which was painted by Romaine,my daughter.She has never had an art lesson in her life,but does well I think.With the Season's best greetings and affectionate regards,Faithfully yoursCharles N. Elliot05335


Portland, Ore.

Date Original

1912 Dec 30


Original letter dimensions: 28 x 21.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 20, Image 1549

Copyright Statement

Some letters written to John Muir may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Owning Institution

The Huntington Library, Muir Family Papers, HM 57349-57497. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.

Page Number

Page 1


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