John Muir


[John Muir]


Mrs. Irvine L. Lenroot


May 16th 1905

Mrs Irvine L. Lenroot

Superior Wis

Dear Madam,

It is wonderful how plain stories are mixed & confounded & made false leaving not a single fact in any of them but only the ghost of a fact.
T original story abt T dis of Linnaea yu will fd in T art Linnaeus in "A Library of T World's Bst Lit." edited by Chas. Dudly Warner, wch I supp you will easily find. Here are T outlines of T story. A hun yrs aft Lin died Asa Gray, Sir Jos. Hooker & I were [illegible] on Mt Shasta our camp was in a grnd forest of silver



firs. Aft sup I built a bg fire, & T flowers & T trees illumined by T firelight seemed to be look__ in & listen__ as we talked. Gray told many a story of his life & so did Hooker. Of course we talked of trees, bt it was not wht was said in prs of our grnd [illegible] cedars firs & pines TT was not mem TT night - It was wht was sd of T lowly fragrant namesake of Lin - Linnaeaborealis. Aft a pause in T flow of our conversat__, Gray suddenly sd "Muir, why hv yu not fd Linnaea in Cal? It must be



here or hereabts for specs hv been st me from Wash & Oregon & I thk yu shd hv fd it hr or a little way north of hr." I replied "Linneae has always been a fav of mine ever since I began to wonder in T wilderness. I hv fd many of its coms in T High Sierra woods & arround T glacier mead bt Lin itself I hv not yt ft." "Nevertheless" sd Gray "T blessed little yellow mst be no grt dis off here." Then we wrapped ourselves in our blans & fell



asleep with our mds full of Linnaea. Next a.m. Gray con'ed his wrk on T mt., while Hooker & I md an excursion 8 or 10 mls T wstward. Abt noon, aft ford - one of T branches of T upper Sac. we noticed a grn carpet on T bank md of someth__ we did not at fst rec for it was not in bloom. Hooker look keen/ at it sd "whts TT?" Then we bth dismnt from our ponies & pluck__ specimens Hooker sd "Isnt TT Linnaea? its awfully like it. Then find__ some of T [illegible] flowrs he exclmd "It is



Linnaea" This was T 1st tm T blessd plant ws fd within T bounds of Cal, & it wld almost seem TT Gray had felt its pres T ngt before at T campfire 10 mls away.
When Linnaaus was 25 years of age he md T mst noteable of his lng lonely lot excurs's. Sett__ out in Uppsala he wond'd afoot or on horseback thru endless pine & birtch wds, meads & tundras into Lapland beyond T Artic Circle. He brought bck huns of spes of plants [then?] [illegible] among wch was a


(exuberance) 6

lit frag evergreen TT he liked T bst of all. Hand__ a spec of it > his friend Gronovius he pointed out its characters & requested him > describe it & name it for him say__: "TT somehow he felt TT this lit plant was related > him & like himself. So it was named Linnaea borealis.
In T wilder, parts of T Rocky Mts, & far north along T Pacific, I hv fd Linnaea bloom__ & spread__ in glorious ex far & wd over mossy ground cover_ logs &



boulders beneath spruce & pine, T wild & T gentlest of all T plant people of T northern wilderness, among T mst charm__ of its coms are Chiogenes, Clintonia, Orchids, Heathwerts & hosts of [illegible] mosses wear__ golden crowns. Where Linnaea dwells T air & T scenery are always good enough for Gods or men, and I always feel will__ to encamp there forever.
Hop__ TT you will fd T above abt wht yu



want, & of wch yu may print wht yu like in yr local paper, I am, with best wishes -

Faithfully yours



[Martinez, Calif.]

Date Original

1905 May 16


Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 13 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 15, Image 0457

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

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.

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date



4 pages


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



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