Clara Barrus


Clara Barrus


John Muir


814 East Highland Drive, Seattle, Washington, May 14,1910.Dear Mr. Muir:Aren't you surprised to get a letter from me written from this place, with the Olympics and Mt. Rainier and Mt, Baker to be seen from the house, and this afternoon we have been motoring along Lake Washington, and got a most wonderful view of the Cascades,Well, I'm surprised myself. Two weeks ago to-day at this time in the afternoon I had no thought of being here. On the evening of May 1st a telegram came asking me to be in Minneapolis by May 5th. I had known a week previous that there was a possibility of my being wanted to take charge of a young lady who had a nervous breakdown three years ago, and whose people wished her to be under the care of a woman physician, but had not expected to be needed before June 1st, if at all. Then the sudden call.I had wanted an excuse to break away from my life there, but when it came, and it meant Minnesota, and consequently leaving in N.Y. state the ones dearest to me, I was dismayed indeed, but as my engagement was only for three months, I quickly decided, resigned my position, packed what I could and engaged a packer for the rest, abruptly severed the associations of seventeen years' standing, and came away on the forenoon of May 3; reached Minneapolis on May 5, only to learn on arrival that in 2 hrs. time the family, the young lady, her nurse, and I were to start for Seattle! Imagine my consternation. But there was no choice, and now that I am here, I am so delighted I would not have it otherwise, except for the distance from my own people and Mr. Burroughs. That is hard, and it may be that they will want me longer than the three months, and then it will be hard to decide. But I will live in the present.Mr. Burroughs was with me when the telegram came. He had been having a hard time with neuritis in his left thigh, and had been in town to a small sanitarium for baths and treatment, but was up at the hospital spending Sunday with me. I was sorry about his illness, but oh so glad that he was in town. It was one mad rush to get ready and I lived as in a dream, that day and a half before starting.Well, I'm here, in the lap of luxury, and with very congenial, cultured people. My young patient is no patient in the ordinary sense, the nurse is with her as a companion, and I am here to direct her studies and activities, and to help ward off any trouble. It bids fair to be a delightful three months. I am to spend here and hereabouts, and if they in the East only keep well, I shall be content.I enjoyed the trip here -- even the monotony of the prairies, and that last day, the noble scenery around the Columbia river--how I enjoyed that! This house is situated on a high bluff, overlooking Union Lake and Puget Sound, and beyond Queen Anne Kill the Olympics shine in the sun. I can see them from my windows. Mr. Browne met my train in Chicago (I telegraphed him from N.Y.) and I had an hour with him and my cousins there. He is looking much better than when I saw him in June. I had a letter from Mary Beale the other day, telling me of her home on the Desert. How fine that she can be near Helen -- she is a dear little thing. I think she is a little sister to the blue hepatica, I do hope her trouble will soon be arrested.A short trip to Victoria is proposed for us in 2 weeks, and a trip to Mt. Rainier this summer. I wish things would work around so it would be feasible to propose our joining the Sierra Club this summer. If it could be done, I'd urge "Oom John" to come out, too, and go with us. Maybe it can--stranger things than that have already happened to me.This is not so phenomenally brilliant an offer as the one I lost last year by being in Honolulu, but it is a good salary --better than I got at the hospital, by far, and even if it were not, I should have been glad to leave.Do you ever come to Seattle now-a-days? Are you going to the Muir glacier again soon? If any of these things are to be, if you come anywhere near hear, won't you let me know. Mr. Hill--a man who has been all over the world, a man of brains, and power -- would be proud and glad to have you in his home. He is greatly interested in good roads, and is a promoter of many enterprises for the upbuilding of Washington.Well, I only started out to write a note and tell you I could see the mountains, and a few other things, especially that I am your neighbor, now.Always sincerely yours,Clara Barrus04760


Seattle, Wash.

Date Original

1910 May 14


Original letter dimensions: 14 x 20.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 19, Image 0357

Collection Identifier

Online finding aid for the microform version of the John Muir Correspondence

Copyright Statement

Some letters written to John Muir may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

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.


9 pages


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



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