John Muir


John Muir


[Strentzel Family]



[in margin: 673]


920 Valencia St. San Francisco, Jan 28th 1879.

Dear friends,

The vast soul stirring work of flitting is at length done, & well done. Myself, wooden clock, & notebook, are once more planted for the winter out here on the outermost ragged edge of this howling metropolis of dwelling [illegible]. And now, Well what now? Nothing but work, book making, brick making the transformation of raw bush sugar & mountain meal into magazine cookies & snaps. And though the spectacled critics who Ken everything in wise ignorance say “well done sir well done” I always feel that there is something not quite honorable in thus dealing with God’s wild gold – the sugar & meal I mean.

[Page 2]

yesterday I began to try to cook a mess of bees, but have not yet succeeded in making the ink run sweet. The blessed brownies [illegible] buzz in this temperature, & what can a body do about it. Maybe Ignorance is the deil that is spoiling the-the-the broth- the nectar, & perhaps I ought to go out & gather some more Melissa & thyme & white sage for the pot. The streets here are barren & beeless & ineffably mudy & mean looking. How people can keep hold of the conceptions of New Jerusalems & immortality of souls with so much mud & gutter, is to me admirably strange. A E[illegible] bush on every other corner, standing tied to a painted stick, & a geranium sprout in a pot on every tenth window sill may help [ heavenward?] a little, but how little amid so muckle down dragging mud Thus much for despondency, per contra the grass & grain is growing

& man will be fed, & the nations will be glad etc, & the sun rises every day. Helen is well out of danger, & is very nearly her own sweet amiable engaging little self again, & I can see her at least once a week

I’m living with Mr Upham & am comfortable as possible. Summer will soon be again.

When you come to the city visit me, & see how bravely I endure so touching a lesson of resignation to metropolitan evils & goods should not be lightly missed. Hoping all goes well with you I am cordially your friend. John Muir.


920 Valencia St. San Francisco, [Calif]

Date Original

1879 Jan 28


Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 25.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 03, Image 0978

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The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust.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, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.

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



2 pages


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



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