John Muir


[John Muir]


Mary [Muir Hand]


[in margin: Call your little girl Mary or Margaret] [4]

Annie is now quite as well as any of us - no cough, no pale sickly looks but much appetite & brisk ambition the only thing lacking is work. She has nothing to do & that is enough to make anybody unhappy I have been trying to make a student out of her. a botantist or anthropologist or something of the sort but she does not seem to take very heartily to such work & calls me a hard master teacher. Probably she contemplates marriage with some minister or other anything in the way of everyday work would be good for her. Thanking you for the pictures Mary & wishing you all Happy New Year I am ever your loving brother


Martinez December 5th 1886

Dear Highland Mary

The box came safely & we are all greatly indebted to you for the brave effort you have made to give a picture of father. But the sad truth remains that we have no real likeness of him I cannot see in your careful effort any characteristic expression of his countenance but it seems a real use nevertheless, & we can but do our best to recall his features when he was in his prime - his face lighted with- enthusiasm for what he saw as Gods eternal truth & love The lilies are very beautiful & well painted but not to my taste well grouped The crowded



handful of heads in the sturdier vase does not allow them to show to good advantabe what they are but the loose buds scattered at the foot of the vase are very fine. I would like to see you try a single flower & leaf growing in the water. thought from the size of the leaves a large sheet would be required

I [illegible] the frost is already dividing you into clear quarters around the devilish iron stoves. I often marveled that anyone could be at all well breathing the roasted burned atmosphere of your winter homes. You are awake to the evils of drinking alcohol but not at all to the eavils of drinking burned foul air


which every year in our climate kills more than dram drinking strange that with so many schools & churches & great show of knowledge concerning both earth & heavens we should yet be as ignorant of so simple a matter as keeping warm in cold weather as a lot of sneezing shivering monkeys. If you are going to continue the profession of Christianity & preaching reforms of drinking etc then for conscience sake begin the business of casting out devils - those iron stoves. [illegible] [stricken word] the business out of their own eye- pull out the end of your house & build a fireplace. This is Sunday & this is a much needed sermon


Martinez [Calif.]

Date Original

1886 Dec 5


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 05, Image 0724

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

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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