John Muir


John Muir


Mrs. Richard Swain


To Mrs. Richard Swain

[First draft of letter, in note-book #59] (64)

Martinez, Cal., Oct. 21, 1900.

Mrs, Richard Swain,

That you have so long remembered that sketch of the wind-storm in the forest of the Yuba gives me pleasure and encouragement in the midst of this hard life work, for to me it is hard, far harder than tree or mountain climbing. When I began [my] wanderings in God's wilds I never dreamed of writing a word for publication, and since beginning literary work it has never seemed possible that much good to others could come of it. Written descriptions of fire or bread are of but little use to the cold or starving. Descriptive writing amounts to little more than Hurrah, here's something! Come! When my friends urged me to begin, saying, "We cannot all go to the woods and mountains; you are free and love wildness; go and bring it to us," I used to reply that it was not possible to see and enjoy for others any more than to eat for them or warm for them. Nature's tables are spread and fires burning. You must go warm yourselves and eat. But letters like yours which occasionally come to me show that even nature writing is not altogether useless.
Some time I hope to see Japan's mountains and forests. The flora of Japan and Manchuria is among the richest and most interesting on the globe. With best wishes, I am,

Very truly yours,

J. M.



Martinez [Calif.]

Date Original

1900 Oct 21


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 11, Image 0393

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The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust.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



1 page


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



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