[Walter H.] Page
[First draft of letter, in note-book #59] (33)
Glad you're coming. I'll go with you. None I'd rather go with. I'm sure It will color your whole life, steep it in divine terrestrial dyes which in essence are also celestial, and be a glorious enrichment, [a] guiding light in whatever ways your work may lead.
What lies in my plans beyond the Parks and Alaska? (1) Yo[semite] and other Yo[semite]s which long ago I promised to the Cent[ury] through Johnson. Most of the material for this lit[tle] book has been published in the Cent[ury] Maga[zine]. They have the cuts for illustration and could bring it out in telling shape to advantage. Johnson is as good as he can be, but the Cent[ury] Co. might easily be better. For the Mountains of California the Co. allowed me only of selling price 5% for the 1st 2000 copies. and 10% for the others. while Houghton Miff[lin] give 10 for 1st 2000 15 for others, or nearly double the Cent[ury] nor do they seem to do so well in making sales. Therefore, though I shall [give] first offer [to the Century] I shall not feel bound to let them have it unless they offer fair compensation and promise to give a reasonable push to the sales, for what's the use of writing books to be kept hidden or half hidden under the bushel of lazy, opaque, slow publishers.
1. Yo[semite] and other Yo[semite]s
2. Trees and shrubs of Cal.
3. Alaska travels
4. Excursions, mountaineering, camping, etc.
5. Studies in earth sculpture, methods of study, [in] the Sierra, the Great Basin, Alaska, etc.
(1) I hope to get off my hands this year. It will be a small book, a sort of guide for nature lovers and tourists and health and rest and wonder and beauty seekers, something like this Yo[semite] Vall[ey] published in the Cent[ury] under the title "Treasures of the Yo[semiteJ" describing the valley throughout the seasons and the excursions to be made in and round about it, etc., with a chapter on the origin. The two Kings R. Yo[semite]s in the same way, Hetch Hetchy, the Tehipite, Tuol[umne] Canyon, and some of the Alaska Yo[semite]s.
(2) as it looks now will be a handy vol. with short telling descriptions and photo specimens of each tree and shrub and the most interesting of the herbaceous plants usually found growing beside them.
[Next page, also numbered 33, is probably another draft of the same letter]02890
[Probably another draft of letter which,in note-book, just preceded this, but to which no name was attached]
[First draft of letter, in note-book #59] (33)
Thanks for your great letter. The strength and inspiration of it is enough to make the very trees [and] rooks write. The Park book, Houghton Miff[lin] tell me, is meeting success. To you and Sargent it owes its existence. Before I got your most encouraging letter I never dreamed of writing such a forest book.
As to plans for others, I'm now at work on a (1) Yo[semite] and other Yo[semite]s which Johnson has been trying to get me to write for the [last] 4 or 5 years, and which I hope to get off my hands. I'll first offer it to the Century, hoping they will bring it out in good shape, give it a good shove towards readers, and offer fair compensation. Johnson is all right, a very friend of mine, but his Co. did not do half as well by me, and I'm not bound to give them this or any other book I may write on their own terms.
(2) The Cal. tree and shrub book was suggested by Merriam last summer. I have already written so much on our forest trees and underbrush I hardly know whether or not I can make another useful book about them. Possibly a handy volume with short telling descriptions and illustrations of each species, enabling the ordinary observer to know them at a glance might do good. This, if undertaken, will probably be done season after next, and you shall have first sight and consideration of it.
(3) Next should come a mountaineering book --all about walking, climbing and camping, with a lot of illustrative excursions.
(4) Alaska. Perhaps this should come before 3.
(5) A book of studies, probably 2 vols., the action of landscape-making forces, earth sculpture, etc. My main real book, in which I'll have to ask my readers to cerebrate somewhat. Still it may, I think, be made readable.
(6) Possibly my Auto [biography] that for the last 10 years I've been urged to write by all sorts of people. My life has been so smooth and regular and reasonable, free from blundering, stirring, tellable adventures, the story of it seems hardly worth while in the midst of so much of infinitely more importance. Still, if I live long enough I may be tempted to try it. I begin to see that such a book would offer fair opportunities here and there to say a good word for God.
The Harriman Alaska vols. are superb, a magnificent piece of bookmaking, and I'm glad you got the job. In none of the notices I have seen does Dr. Merriam, as editor, get half the credit he deserves
Good luck to you. May your shop grow like a Sequoia.
Ever faithfully yours,
Original letter dimensions: 22.5 x 14.5 cm.
Muir, John, "Letter from John Muir to [Walter H.] Page, [1902 Jan 10]." (1901). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 4568.
Reel 12, Image 0075
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 http://www.pacific.edu/Library/Find/Holt-Atherton-Special-Collections/Fees-and-Forms-.html