Helen [Hunt] Jackson


John Muir


1600 Taylor St.,
San Francisco, June 8, 1885.

My dear Mr. Muir,

I want some help from you. I have been terribly ill for four months, severe malarial poisoning contracted in Los Angeles.
The doctors say that in six weeks I may be strong enough to be laid on a bed in a wagon and drawn about. I know, with the certainty of instinct, that nothing except three months out of doors night and day will get this poison out of my veins. I want to get where it is cool, and moist, and among trees. I cannot endure heat. I cannot bear a high altitude -- nothing over 4000 feet. The best I can hear of is to be taken by train to the Sierra foothills, say the Dutchman's Flat region, and work up towards Truckee. Can you suggest anything better? or more? I want to keep moving. I cannot go away from Wells Fargo posts. I must have even more than comfortable fare.
I have the fortune to know an old guide and camper who will conduct my train and has made estimates for me. I must have eight horses, four vehicles -- an ambulance for me in bed, two camp wagons for tents, and a comfortable phaeton buggy -- four servants, myself, maid, and doctor.
Now do you know any good itinerary for such a cumbrous caravan as this? How you would scorn such lumbering methods! I am too ill to wish any other. I shall do this as a gamester throws his last card!
I have always hoped I should see you. I believe I know every word you have written. I never wished myself a man but once -- that was when I read how it seemed, to be rocked in the top of a pine tree in a gale.

Yours truly,

Helen Jackson.


…San Francisco, [Calif]

Date Original

1885 Jun 8


Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 26 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 05, Image 0266

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

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


3 pages



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