John Muir


[John Muir]


[Mary, Anna & Joanna Muir]


To Mary & Anna and perhaps to Joanna [May, 1861]

To my affectionate sister Mary M 'made up her mind' 'a while ago to write to me' Well Ive just made up mind to write to you this afternoon I was very glad to hear from you and you wrote a very good letter but you must not write your name in two pieces for nobody but your affectionate brother in all Madison could have read it [illegible] Now I suppose you're thinking that aint so bad, as me not writing mine [illegible] often you tell me about Joanna saying it would be a curiosity to see me I shouldn't think it would there isn't much difference in my looks I guess, only my beard has not been forgetting to grow it's very long, one of the students told me that if he had such a beard he would set fire to it, Im pretty sure you aint [illegible] nor slim by this time, can you touch the roof Anna can you. Joanna I know you can't, you're a[illegible] y[illegible] you little block. I suppose you all go to get flowers often now. Some of our students often go far away on Saturdays after all kinds of flowers to study all about them, this study is called Botany. How would you like this study I like pretty flowers but I haven't time to study much about them Ive got a fine posy at my [illegible] here in an old milk bottle and Ive got a peppermint plant and a young bramble in an old glass bottle and on the shelf, (the [topmost?] one) stands my stew fan full of brumbles 2 or 3 feet long and ships of gooseberries [bushes?] and wild plum and I don't know all what, and further along you may see my tin [illegible] in the same business, they keep fresh a long time in water I had a long yellow willow in my basin a while but it died I had always to take it out when I washed. I know you would like to come to our pretty grounds to gather flowers, lots and lots of happy girls are [scattered?] over the hill and along the lake bank all the [summer?]

days filling the beautiful flowers that grow here I think there are some kinds here that I never [seen?] before I guess too that you would like to go along the shore to gather shells and pebbles. You would have to take care not to fall over the banks for they are so steep most every place near our house that you could not go down, or rather if you got started you could do nothing else but go down. There is an old basswood tree hangs away out over the bank, it is a fine shape to sit or lie on. You see the lake far down below, it seems as though you would fall right into it if you should roll off I often go there with a book. When I was lying there the other day I heard an awful loud buzzing I thought surely it was a louder buzz then a bumble bee could make so I looked below me and there was a dazzly little humming bird. I watched a long while among the berry bushes and ra[illegible] and other combusts till [illegible]fairly left me. I don't know Mary and Anna and Joanna whether you would like to live in the [illegible] or no In the morning when you wake instead of hearing two or three roosters crowing you hear about a hundred all at once and then the locomotives whistle so loud you would almost think the end of their whistles were in your ears, (not l[illegible] and so many are running and walking up and down the lots along stairs, and hundreds of common and uncommon sounds make city sounds very ph[illegible], but the thrushes in that fine grove don't seem to care, they whistle just as they do on the block or burr oaks at Hickory I always keep my window open and so I can hear them fine. I guess you would like to go to the top of university hall but you would [be thinking?] the stairs had no end. You could see the city and far out all around. When its clear you can see two windmills great big ones for working Ive measured how far it was to one of them a few days ago without going to it, do you know how to do that Mary. It was just a little less than seven miles. You told me [illegible] about Dimmond being dead I suppose David Galloway has told you about Mr Mitchell. I think how much better [illegible] [illegible] [illegible] all the little Mitchells You should all be very good girls will you Mary Will you Anna Will you Joanna


[Madison, Wisc.]

Circa Date

[1861 May]

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 01, Image 0199

Collection Identifier

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

Copyright Statement

The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust. To purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish or exhibit them, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.

Owning Institution

John Muir National Historic Site. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date



2 pages


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



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