S. Hall Young
Cordova, Alaska;June 14th, 1910.John Muir, Martinez, Cal.,My dear Friend,Yours of May 31st came by the last steamer and I reply by its return. I am sincerely sorry if I made a mistake in the facts of the climb. I aimed to be absolutely truthful in the story as far as my memory goes. And still, while acknowledging that you must be correct in the matter of our not crossing the glacier on the way up because--well, because you are you, I cannot make my recollection of it come other than as I told it. You should have felt at liberty to make the correction.I did not see George Wharton James's article on the subject, but I know James and his tendency to get facts mixed. He knew my purpose to publish the story, and should not have "butted in". There was a ridiculous version of the story published in the Toledo Blade last year; I have forgotten the author. My main purpose in the story, and in the two or three stories that will follow if the publishers want them, is to write a tribute to John Muir; and if I do justice to him that is my chief concern.Since writing you I have sent a sample story of the series called The Mushing Parson to the manager of the Fleming H. Revell Co., who is a personal friend of mine. The title of this is "Cussin' Jim". It is a dialect story of the Klondike stampede. I am finishing to send by this mail what will be the first story of the book. Its title is The Trail, and the scene will be laid at Skagway and the Chilcoot Pass in '97.Now as to the name of the book: I have consulted my most literary Alaska friends and some in the East, and all are taken with the title. If slang is "language on probation" the word "mush" as universally used in the North West has surely passed the probationary stage. In fact there is no other word used up here to express the same idea. And so constantly has it been employed by writers who write of the North that the country at04794
2large fully understands it. It is the most characteristic name I can think of.I am growing very enthusiastic about this work. The joy of creation is surely the most divine of joys. I cannot hope to approach your exquisite sense of proportion and balance in the construction of sentences, or your keen, sympathetic and minute study of wild nature. My studies will have to be principally of the men in the wilds. But I hope to present these people of the Far North, whom I have learned to love and admire, in their true light. And they cannot be divorced from the scenery in any adequate description of them. I hope to improve in my descriptions of the mountains and rivers of Alaska.I have your "Mountains of California",-the copy you gave me long ago. Fortunately I have always carried it in my trunk on my travels, and so it escaped destruction with the rest of my library which went downwith the Str. Leah to the bottom of the Yukon. I had the best library in Alaska, fifteen hundred choice volumes, besides letters, manuscripts and papers that to me were priceless, but they were all lost, and I was not able to recover a cent of damages.I have also "Stickeen", the finest dog-book ever written, hardly excepting John Brown's "Rab". I have not "Our National Parks" but will get it. I shall look eagerly for the publishing of the others you mention.I have notified my Mission Board of my intention to retire after this church year which expires April 1st, 1911. They have intimated a desire to have me go east this winter for a campaign among the churches. If this plan is carried out I expect to look about for a home somewhere on the Coast this winter, either near Seattle or in Cal. There I will establish my wife, spending my winters there in literary work and most of my summers in Alaska gathering more material. Next summer I hope to spend in the Arctic ocean with my Son-in-law, Capt. F. E. Kleinschmidt, whose recent articles on hunting and other adventures you may have seen in The Pacific Month-04794
3ly, The Pacific Motor Boat, and Outdoor Life. He is cruising around there now, hunting polar bears and walrus, and filling orders from museums for arctic birds. I will try to place other orders this winter and help him fill them, besides making a study of the insect life of the Arctic. As the hour of my deliverance from The Grind approaches I am getting very impatient to be free.If I go east this winter I shall certainly try to make you a visit. I have a brother in Los Angeles, Walter L. Young, an oil man and a rampant socialist, but a good fellow for all that. I shall go to see him.I shall keep in communication with you, and if the publishers want more Days with John Muir I shall send them to you first for criticism, and revision if needed.Please let me hear from you again. You don't know what pleasure the resumption of our long intermitted corresponence has afforded me. I acknowledge the fault of the hiatus was mine.Will you kindly tell me who was the publisher of the account of the Harriman Expedition, in what shape it was brought out and the price. I must have it.With kindest regards from Mrs. Young and myself,As ever, your Friend,[illegible]P. S. Inglancing over this letter I find that I have failed to express my thanks for your help. You know that I am grateful.S. H. Y.04794
1910 Jun 14
Original letter dimensions: 28 x 21.5 cm.
Young, S. Hall, "Letter from S. Hall Young to John Muir, 1910 Jun 14." (1910). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 5039.
Reel 19, Image 0505
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Environmentalist, naturalist, travel, conservation, national parks, John Muir, Yosemite, California, history, correspondence, letters