Sallie J. Kennedy


John Muir



at this little pile of treasures give me. How strange and still how pleasant to think of you having gone to Lake Tahoe so soon after we left it. How exquisitely beautiful it is, Did you ever before see such contrasting color in the same sheet of water? and even the quality of the water appeared different, from water usually. Yes I have read Walden, What shall I say; Vexed one minute -enchanted the next; I was seldom thrown into sympathy with [illegible] Do you recall his chapter on “Sounds” and “Solitude”, - these were my favorite parts of the book. I am afraid to give you my thoughts about them for they would be crude, and probably not give you pleasure. Now what shall I say


Washington, Jany 24th, 1878.

My dear Mr Muir.

A few days since your welcome letter came and I was very happy to receive it. I had begun to think your precious studies had driven every other object from mind. I have wished many times you could be here during this week to meet your two valued friends Dr Gray and Prof Butler, and there is another whom you may not remember so well. but who retains the warmest recollection of meeting you in Yosemite Valley in 69. General [ Abvord?]. General A. brought Prof Butler, to see us one evening this week and we attended a lecture which he delivered badly named

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“Hash”, but a most substantial as well as bright composition. On Sunday the three gentlemen are to dine with us. Dr Gray and I went to Prof Hayden’s rooms this morning and enjoyed two hours very much. Seeing Dr Gray and talking with him carried me so vividly back to our Summer excursion so charming. M.’ Shasta in all its surpassing gran- deur – that loveliest of all the little streams we saw with its moss covered way – but I must not begin or I will not know where to end. I was so glad to know of your work and pleasure after you left Sacramento. What a glorious time you had! I have traced as far as possible your course – have imagined as far as my limited power would permit your joy in coming upon the


the grand Sequoia – your pleasure in Kings River Yosemite – then into the canon of Middle Fork &c &c. Could we ever have gone over the same taking our time! A bit of a scolding would have been a good thing for you - for doing such hard work with so little care for physical need. It is well storms do come. I have the most precious little bracket which holds my beautiful amabilis cone, some acorns, a number of smaller cones, among them the “baby cone” I got the day you said I was like something horrid in a barrel; Remember? and you never said you were sorry: Then around this I have the lovely autumn leaves, maples – you gathered on that day of all beautiful forest days. It is wonderful the happiness a glance 00769

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hope it be moved as safely or in as good condition as Snag no 1. I hope Anne will be in San Fran- cisco before long and you will see her Write me when you feel like it. [ 4 ever?] if it will be a bore.

Your friend Sallie J. Kennedy.

I would have written of our visit to Tahoe & Virginia but think Annie must have written you. Have not told you how I enjoyed the remainder of the journey by myself. [illegible] day after day on the rear platform drinking the beauties of sky and land.

[5] of your article on your darling [illegible] Ansel; I cannot help saying what I feel about it – that in it there is a Heavenly brightness. Not only is knowledge increased – your darling Ansel raised to the warmest spot in ones heart but one is filled with positively holy joy as one reads and is made to long for purer and better things in life. To think too that I should have seen this dear little bird; Do you remember our camp – near I think – the McCloud? It was there Annie and I first saw the little bird. Then do you recall [ Lairdts?]? – on his Lake – but we saw it longer and nearer at the River – its motions and heard its sweet little note. We remarked at the time its apparent tameness for

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it flew very close to us, and alighted near us, and its dipping motion amused us very much. Your descriptions of the streams and water falls are full of life and beauty. The drawings or cuts are excellent. I enjoyed your “Cloud Banners” very much – cause across a second appearance of it after coming home. Some time will you send me some figures in regard to Cinder Cone. Our little place in Walden recalled your return by the Lake the lovely Sab- bath evening after your days work among the lava beds, &c. But I must not write too long a letter, Am not quite ready to stop tho’ I have finished Lyndalls Forms of Water, and was sorry not to have read it before and so better


have understood your evidences of glacial movements or formations. My next book will be Bains Hugh Miller. Weeks and weeks ago a friend brought me a pamphlet called “Nature with some-thing in it of Dr Grays on Sir J. Hooker and an article by Sir Joseph. I immediately sent for three copies and was promised them in six weeks – and they are not yet here. So if you re- ceive one you may knowthe cause of delay. I am glad you have pleasant memories of Chico. The place to me, with so many associations is a dear one. I trust you will enjoy the winter with its busy indoor hours. For my own amusement I got down Town this morning. Snag no 3; Will send it by mail and 00769




Date Original

1878 Jan 24


Original letter dimensions: 18.5 x 24.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 03, Image 0680

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.


4 pages


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



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