John Muir


[John Muir]


[J.B.] Mc Chesney


[Original letter returned to Mrs. J. B. McChesney]

Yosemite, June 8th, [1871].

Dear McChesney:

It is long since I wrote you, and still I have not intended to neglect you. You belong to all of my moonlight wanderings at the upper falls. I have been there many times by night and day since seeing you, and you always are present as one who is susceptible of the spiritual influences that so gloriously abound there.
I was up last full moon alone and found several new and most impressive chambers to which i would like to Introduce you. Can you not come this season?, I wish you would come and bring your wife with you.I think that all of the spirit creatures whose acquaintance you made last year are still to be found in our rocks and waters, and they are willing to tell all that you are capable of heartily longing for. I am most intensely happy in their company and in many a rock page once confused to blankness I now find magnificent words plainly written and sentences with easy beginnings and whole glorious chapters of truth. I wish we could ramble together a month or two and learn these grand mountain lessons together.

June 9th.

Last winter I read the narrative of an expedition across South America from Quito to Para, by Orton. Was that the one you spoke to me about when you were here? I shall see the Andes some day, but I cannot tell how long these communicative, loving, confiding Sierras will keep me. While they trust me and talk to me as they do now I shall not leave them.
I spent a most delightful week with R. W. Emerson when he was here. I wanted to steal him - to kid [nap him] from civilization. How naturally he would have taken his place among the pure and happy ghosts of the upper mountains.

[Drawing of butterfly]

What is the name of this big butterfly? It is very abundant now, in large flocks, mostly yellow in color, but marked with black and also with red near the ends of the wings. What work do you study on bugs and insects in general? I would like to obtain a good work on entomology.
I heard that Bolander was coming here this summer. If you see him, tell him that I am very anxious to know him and will be found in the mill or back in the mountains.


John Muir

["John Muir, June 1871" written on first page of letter. This year seems correct, as Emerson's visit is here referred to].



Circa Date

[1871] Jun 8


Original letter dimensions: 33 x 21.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 02, Image 0461

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, see

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.

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date



1 page


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



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