Walter H. Page
25 Novr 1901
My dear Mr. Muir:
I have had a long and delightful talk with Merriam who (luckiest of men) had the fun and the joy of seeing much of you during the summer; and his talk has spurred me to do what I have long had in mind & long neglected in my busy life here since I set up a shop of my own. So I send you a lot of books and magazines today to show you what I am doing and to show you also how much I hope you will have a happy Christmas and forty or fifty more of them - as many more as
you want and as you will need to get the great work done that you are doing. For you must have time before you die or quit to get the whole thing written down to suit you. California and Alaska will be here a long time after we are gone; but your books must be got ready for the long life that awaits them, for they must live as long as the country remains safe from the final [clash?] of th[ings?]. Your "Parks" is ready. My congratulations. That's a pleasing book - every chapter of it - an interpretive book. I read the last paper in the Atlantic with the very sound of your voice in my
ears and with a newly-sworn resolution to go & see these things myself before I die. Then your "Alaska" will come along through my good friends, Houghton, Mifflin, & Company. I am not mean enough to envy them anything, for I have no better friends than they. But if I did envy them anything I should envy them these books. I have sent an order for a copy of the "Parks" to be bound in a special fashion for me, & I mean to have a copy of the old book that the Century Company issued (the one with the water ouzel in it) bound in the same way. I shall say to my sons: "When you are in doubt, here, here
is American literature, by a man who is nature & whom you have seen & talked with." Then they will inwardly damn as I do the superficial scribblers who write simply to make books. And I'm going with them some happy summer, with the mother of 'em & all, to see these great wonders of the world - these forests & glaciers. Then I shall ask you what lies in your plans beyond these books - "The Parks" & "Alaska." For these are not all. I know, for instance, that you have in mind & in your notes a book on the "Trees & Shrubs of California". When you get to that, if you aven't given it already to some other publisher,
I'd like to show you how such a book ought to be made & published - a thing like the Alaska Expedition of Mr. Harriman which we made That's my idea of book-making; & it was to do such things that I came back from Boston and set up a shop of my own.
Sometime, too, you may have certain chapters of things that you haven't given to other magazines. The our magazines - any of 'em, all of 'em - The World's Work, or Country Life, will yawn for you;
and our checks will grow larger to rise to great occasions whenever you will barter literature for lucre!
But I don't mean to descend to gold. I meant only to express, across this long silence, my hearty appreciation & thanks for what I have read in the Atlantic; my best wishes; my hope that the toil of writing brings you something of the joy that it gives your readers; and - my request for your photograph! Ease & strength to your pen!
Believe me [heartily?] yours
Walter H. Page
John Muir Esq.
1901 Nov 25
Original letter dimensions: 21.5 x 28 cm.
Page, Walter H., "Letter from Walter H. Page to John Muir, 1901 Nov 25." (1901). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 4488.
Reel 11, Image 0945
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