Walter H. Page


Walter H. Page


John Muir



the Century Company would probably wish to publish them, and you implied that, while you had no arrangement with them, it would be more or less natural for them to expect the book, inasmuch as they re-published in book form the papers that make up "The Mountains of California". The policy (I prefer, indeed, to call it a principle) of Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin and Company has always been not to poach on other publishers' preserves, and to regard an obligation of an author to his publisher as an intimate and inviolable relation. I can, therefore, say nothing, and should wish to say nothing, if you already have an arrangement with the Century Company that you regard as definite, whether it be expressed or only implied. But if you have not any such arrangement, I do not hesitate to say, of course without the slightest prejudice to them, that I believe it would be a better thing for you to have your books published by Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin and Company if for no other reason than this very important reason; viz:--

The Atlantic Monthly,

September 1, 1897.

Dear Mr. Muir,

It was a considerable disappointment that I did not receive your article on the national parks in time for our anniversary (October) number,-a disappointment because when we wish to put our best foot foremost we naturally wish something from you. But I shall not remember this against you, because you have already been kind enough to wipe out more grievous sins than this one. I shall now look for the paper as soon as you are able to write it after your return, and it will come with as hearty a welcome then as if it had been received sooner.
Referring to a subject that was mentioned in a previous letter by each of us, may I say another word about the publication of your next books, of one of which these magazine articles will forma part? You wrote that02340


I am saying all these things only on the supposition that you have made no definite arrangement and are under no definite obligations to the Century Company. Your first book was naturally published by them because the articles which make it up were published in their magazine. Now they are publishing some of your present articles and we are publishing some of them in magazine form. If by reason of this we are on an equal footing with them--as I infer we are--pray read over again what I have written about book publication. If we are not on an equal footing and we can hope for no more than magazine publication of a part of your work, we shall be thankful for that and as much of that as possible, and we shall bear you no grudge if your books go elsewhere. But--but--but--the place for permanent additions to American literature is in the catalogue a copy of which I herewith send you--along with the other great additions to it.
I send this letter to your home address to await your coming. When you are done with

The Atlantic Monthly,


The greatest single compact body of American literature of permanent value that exists anywhere is put forth by this firm. This single fact gives the firm an advantage that no other one has in putting writings which have sufficient merit first alongside of this compact mass of permanent literature and finally into it---thus bringing about not simply such a sale of a book as can be made so long as it is a new publication, but in addition thereto such a continual nurture of it as a piece of literature as will keep it alive as long as it has any vitality whatever. I believe that Mr. Burroughs, for instance, has found great benefit of this kind by reason of the publication of his works by Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin, and Company. I do not mean of course to make any comparisons, but I cannot help thinking it doubtful whether, if he had pursued a different course, he now would have the satisfaction of having a beautiful complete edition of his writings such as was issued by us last year.


[in margin: 125 50 I like plan but am not quite ready Will write. [open spaces encircled with grey?] [illegible] gardens tall slender spruce trees bristly on [illegible] rocks brooks [illegible] pinnacles]this reservation article, of course we shall want more for the Atlantic.

Very truly yours,

Walter H. Page

John Muir, Esq.



Date Original

1897 Sep 1


Original letter dimensions: 21 x 27.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 09, Image 1066

Collection Identifier

Online finding aid for the microform version of the John Muir Correspondence

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

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.


3 pages


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



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