C[harles] S. Sargent


John Muir



Jamaica Plain, Mass., May 30, 1896

My dear Mr. Muir:

I return to you with many thanks the communications you have been good enough to send me in reference to the Big Trees.
Engelmann, in The Botany of California, speaks of the fruit of Sequoia as maturing the second year. This I should think must be a mistake, as there is nothing to show on any of my specimens that it does not ripen the first autumn. If I am wrong about this,I wish you would send me a line by return post that I may make the correction in my proofs. If the fruit does mature the second year,I should much like to see a cone during its first winter.
I am delighted to learn that Harvard is going to honor itself by giving you a degree at Commencement, which is on the 24th day of June. Nothing, I hope, will prevent your being in Cambridge on that day, and while you are in this neighborhood you will of course stay with me in Brook line. [illegible]
I am going west myself with some members of my Commission on the 2nd of July and I am not without hope that you may be returning home at that time and that we may all go together. It might be a good idea for you to telegraph either Johnson or me, if you have notalready done so, if you will be here on the 24th.

Faithfully yours,


(Copied from fragment marked Y-13)

making American trees and people and angels happy.
And now do write him an encouraging letter especially about the Harvard ceremonies and tell him he can go East and still be in time to see his ice rivers after the snow is melted from their deadly crevasses. Also throw out hints about other books he ought to write.
I think it will be impossible to get him to give up his northern trip, for when he makes up his mind to go anywhere he always goes, but it may well be shortened and so much gained.


that the eastern scholars and Harvard people in particular were always friendly to him and were the first to say kind encouraging words(a wild nobody in the woods)about his work when he was pursuing his wild solitary life in the woods and high mountains. But you must tell me particularly about the ceremonies connected with the honorary degree. If a formal speech is required I fear he will belt like a frightened wild animal. When he meets professors and college Presidents in an informal way he takes all the talk to himself and lectures them coolly with an(as if they were only boys at the beginning of their studies)air of superior knowledge, but the slightest formality in the way of ceremony frightens him dumb.
If anyone can drag him to Harvard you can. He most sincerely admires you. He has said to me over and over again that only Johnson could have fought the Copyright fight to a successful end,(God's trees in the Sierra)and only Johnson could get government protection for the forests against general selfishness and apathy. (He should be President of our big hopeful)

(The above is written in Muir's handwriting, and appears to be composed by him, inasmuch as certain lines have been ere seed out. These are copied and enclosed in parenthesis marks. The letter is evidently one written, or intended to be written by some friend of Muir, to Robert Underwood Johnson)



Jamaica Plain, Mass

Date Original

1896 May 30


Original letter dimensions: 26.5 x 21 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 09, Image 0174

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.


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



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