John Muir


[John Muir]


Helen [Muir]



Muir Glacier

Glacier Bay

July 8th 1890

Dear little Helen

I wish I could see you Papa is pretty lonesome sometimes because I want so to have you beside me. The pretty flowers grow over the rocks though it is pretty cold, & wild goats are on the tops of the mountains & a few seals & trout live in the cold water But I feel like poor Paddy Grogan sometimes & then I have to look at your picture. I live in a little cloth house but Captain Carroll says that he is going to bring me lumber nextime for a little wooden house. Tell Mamma that the Captain is very kind & gives me everything I want. I got a sack of potatoes & some oranges & meat & things & the Engineer is just now making iron for shoes




for the runners of my little sled I am going to pull on the ice when I go to look at it. I was up a big mountain & saw some fine pretty hills & I made pictures of them & will bring them back for you to see. Tell Mamma I can eat very big dinners now I had beans & mush & bacon for breakfast this morning, & a whole quart of coffee, & beans & bacon & chees & another quart of coffee for dinner & a hard tack. Sometimes we have dried peaches or apricots & cheese & even pancakes & yeast powder bread but it is very hard making the fire burn in the rain & wind when the weather is bad. Still it only makes us the hungrier for sometimes we




no night here. It is 9 oclock just now & I suppose you are sleeping my little Darling & the ship is going soon, but I want to write until the ship starts I am writing in the Captain's cabin & he will send me ashore to my own little cloth house before the ship starts. He sent a boat for me when he came in with all the people into this place to see the ice, to tell me to come & eat dinner with him - & so I had one good dinner with champagne but no beans. When I was on the big mountain two days ago, I sat on a mat of beautiful flowers that are called Cyanthus & Cassiope & anemones & a lot of other making


[in margin: Send me a box of [illegible] & anything marked [illegible] Care Goodall [Park?] & Co. John Muir Glacier Bay Alaska]



a picture of the mt & gls & I heard something saying cheerup, cheerup, & I looked around & saw a little striped marmot about 8 inches long standing on his hind legs looking at me like a little boy. He was standing in the flowers & had a nice time but he must have had a dark cold time in his nest in the winter. Then I hear something else as if he felt lonesome & pitiful & I looked & saw a big brown marmot, another kind standing like a rusty old man with small eyes, standing on the other side of me & this is the company I had. Here are their pictures. The ship is going. Goodbye Helen Wanda Mama Grandma Grandpa



Muir Glacier, Glacier Bay [Alaska]


Original letter dimensions: 28 x 21.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 06, Image 0557

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

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.

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date



4 pages



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