Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore


John Muir


Washington, D. C.,
Sept. 12th, '91.

Dear Mr. Muir:

As I am not in the way of seeing you in person this fall, will you tell me the common and uncommon name of this little flower - the fragrant wax plant that grows in the mosses in the woods all around Sitka? I never found such a botanical desert in one way as Alaska is. There were the hills and the valleys and the mountain summits all around Juneau and Sitka covered with the thickest mats and carpets of blossoms that I had never seen before, and no one in either town could tell me a thing about them. I climbed Verstoraia, back of Sitka, three times and each time was quite wild over the weather, and the perfect snow banks of these fragrant white blossoms with the collar of leaves at their branching stems. Will you tell me what it is?
And then there is this exquisite little tulip-y sort of a flower that I found up among the heather patches above Muir glacier. It is the purest and truest blue that I have ever seen in a flower's petals, and Mr. Richardson, our artist, was quite excited over it. It was shameful for us to be there in the midst of all that rich flora and not even know the names of the things - but the other ignorant people whom I have met ever since have not been able to help me out.
Your Inlet will be crowded next year - the S.S. Co. mean to keep a guide there during the excursion season, and the Coast Survey as usual threaten to have the Patterson there and a camp on shore. Meanwhile the Canadian Conference meets here in a few weeks and Dr. Dawson will make a grab for everything worth having on the mainland coast. He needs to be muzzled before they send him on a diplomatic errand again, as before he started for Bering Sea he spoke openly as to what he would and would not do - dead set and convicted on every point beforehand. I do not care very much what he does about the Pribylof Islands, but Revillagigedo and Scidmore Islands cannot be spared him, and you must make a stand for your own glacier and the Taku. The people living on the thirty mile strip do not nearly appreciate what a serious thing

[Letter incomplete]

[Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore]


Washington, D. C.

Date Original

1891 Sep 12


Original letter dimensions: 20 x 25 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 07, Image 0281

Collection Identifier

Online finding aid for the microform version of the John Muir Correspondence

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

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.


3 pages


Environmentalist, naturalist, travel, conservation, national parks, John Muir, Yosemite, California, history, correspondence, letters



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