Henry F. Osborn


Henry F. Osborn


John Muir


850 Madison Avenue.

Sunday. March 6 th, 1896.

My dear Mr Muir,

You have been frequently in our minds and hearts since our grand trip together -- and upon the 'explorers' ' panel of my library I have your picture taken by Perry upon the Glacier. But two events recently have brought you prominently forward -- the first is a visit from John Burroughs last Tuesday, the second is my reading Russell's "Glaciers of North America" last evening. Mr. Burroughs, we met for the first time and found him very simple and charming, and full of your visit to him. He joins me in urging you to tales your pen in hand and let the world enjoy some of the good things you have seen in the world-making, or the 'great show' as you like to call it. Probably no other plea will have much weight with you, than this-- do as you would be done by, take out the note-books and let all of us enjoy them. Russell's book is a silent appeal in the same direction-it is very interesting because he brings so many facts together, but it is singularly lacking in originality. I can hardly understand how a man can have seen so much and dared so much, and have given birth to not a single new hypothesis or induction (so far as I can judge from one reading). Can you? I see that he is very, very cautious -- especially as regards the bodily movement of ice-masses and the sculpture power of ice masses. Upon both, but chiefly upon the latter you must have much to say. Is not the traveling of morainal matter steadily downward sufficient disproof of the rotation theory, and sufficient demonstration of the direct forward motion theory – versus the biscayes (?)As regards sculpture it seems to me you must present your evidence in the strongest manner, bringing forward every fact which you gave me while you were engaged in my conversion, besides every other fact. But I have not time to write all I have in mind upon this matter.
You have probably seen my dear mother en route for Japan, for she was surely intending to call upon you. We are all bright and well here. My wife is ever my better half, with inexhaustible stores of good old Scotch energy, enthusiasm and pugnacity, which made you find in her a kindred spirit. She was greatly pleased with your letter to her. Virginia and Perry are in the mid-winter session of school. I take one, perhaps both, West with me, but not as far as California. I have in mind a trip to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Do you think you could meet us there?
Another friend of yours I have seen several times is Prof.Sargent of Harvard, and this reminds me that your journey has borne grand fruit in Cleveland's new reserves. How little we eastern people know the West, was my thought upon observing the slight attention paid to this splendid stroke for the preservation of the western glories.
Johnson, too, I have seen frequently. He is not in very vigorous health, hie life is, I fear, too sedentary for his constitution. But his cerebral cortex seems to be all right, for he has produced a fine poem upon Webster as a senator, not yet published, but worth whipping into good shape.
Well the little red squirrels and the big trees are waiting for you at Wing and Wing, whenever you can come and see them. And in New York a big library full of books, and a very warm welcome in either home from Mrs. Osborn, myself and all the children.
Ever faithfully yours,

Henry F. Osborn.



[New York]

Date Original

1896 Mar 6


Original letter dimensions: 17.5 x 23 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 09, Image 0085

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.


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