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

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The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust.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

University of the Pacific Library Holt-Atherton Special Collections. 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



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