Mary W. Harriman
The Plains, Virginia,
Jan. 1st, 1913.
Greetings from Virginia to California on this lovely New Year's morn. My letter, the first one of 1913, is to my good friend dear Mr. Muir, that my shortcomings of 1912 may be blotted out by the early doings of the New Year. I find it is more and more of an effort to express my faithful sentiments with pen and ink, particularly as my writing wrist has been troublesome for the past year, but the feelings are there true and loyal, ready for active expression - of that be assured, dear friend - and it is always a great pleasure to hear from you directly and indirectly, as recently from your own letter from Martinez with the book notice enclosed, and from Mr. Herrin who dined with us in town the other day. I charged him with kind messages for you and sent at Xmas a souvenir card of Arden House where we spent our Xmas day, coming down here the day after - I for rest and refreshment in this sunny clime, and my children 4 for fox hunting. Don't look shocked - it is mostly galloping "over the hills and far away" they do - with good hounds for company.
Mary has been through typhoid fever this autumn, but was able to return to her new home on Lond Island fit to enjoy Xmas with her own little family of Pad and Paddie. We have a merry party of young people here for over New Year's day, all returning to N.Y. the end of the week, Fairfield Osborn among them. All his family are well and continuing on their busy way. Mrs. Averell and Beth are coming to us at i E 69th St. about the 11th of Jan. and intend to settle down in town (after a little visit with us) somewhere for the winter, Beth to continue her artistic fancies.
When I think of you in your "lonely old library den" I feel I have more than my share of young and good company, as I keep so closely in touch with my children and grandchildren and maintain open house for young and old at Hotel Harriman and Arden House. You have only to join us to share both with me! Remember.
I have been reading with great interest the chapters from the 1st vol. of your autobiography in the Atlantic, and hoping soon for the full volume. Mrs. Osborn and I had an enthusiastic talk about it and you the other evening in town, so you see you are still close to us in every way but touch.!
I am worrying about Mr. Harriman's biography - the death of Mr. Batson, so unexpectedly, cut it short. As yet no one has appeared to finish it. Can you suggest anyone? It must be an active man - that is, someone who through personal connection with active business life understood the circumstances and conditions in which Mr. Harriman lived and worked.
May this long scrawl fill your library with a feeling of companionship with your Harriman, Osborn and Averell friends, at least for a few leisure moments when you can allow yourself to drift into the backward currents of past associations with those faithful ones who hold you in dear remembrance. With best wishes for the New Year, and appreciating those you sent us,
Faithfully, with love,
Mary W. Harriman
The Plains, Va.
1913 Jan 1
Original letter dimensions: 27.5 x 21 cm.
Harriman, Mary W., "Letter from Mary W. Harriman to [John Muir], 1913 Jan 1." (1913). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 3881.
Reel 21, Image 0019
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