Kate M. Graydon


Kate M. Graydon


John Muir




So can not see how you can be happy so far away from human care & sympathy, except the little fellow must always be singing “Are ye not of more value than many sparrows?” All you say of him is a sermon on that text. I must tell you, if only to make you smile, how much sympathy I wasted on you. Somehow I thought you had no friends nor companions but glaciers & icebergs & birds & bears & ever-greens, & that you had no mother to wear out her anxious heart about you, & all that, Well, one day my sympathies were all


Indianapolis, March 28th ’80.

Dear Mr. Muir –

For a fact I was glad to get your letter, & see that you had not forgotten me. You are in an open letter, I could not tell all truth of the reading of that piece on the ouzel. It was this. One morning Prof. Jordan greatly offended us by announcing in class that instead of the regular lesson he would read an article from Scribner, this intimating we were too stupid to appreciate such a piece if left to ourselves, Lo retaliate, when he told who wrote the article, I made him

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believe I had known you always, & that I received at least one letter each week. Well, where Prof. Jordan started to Cal. he naturally asked for a letter of introduction. Just then some one exclaimed to herself, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” What if Mr. Muir should ask, Who is Kate Graydon? So you see why I was at once relieved & happy, when your letter came. I presume you & Prof. Jordan are together, & if you & he do not mix, it is because I am not there to stir you up. You must understand Janet introduced Mr. Gilbert, he is her friend. Janet is about as large in


stature as he, but for lu[illegible] “the mind’s the measure of the man.” Miss Hendricks allowed us to read your Alaska letters. I always thought it was cold up by the north pole, until I read them. You speak of purling streams & balmy air, etc, etc, as if it were Florida, quite an overturning of my geography. You drew a pretty picture of what home life might be, with drawn curtains & crackling fire, & books still damp from the Press, why not more minute, & say whether you would prefer a Brussels or Ax minster, a Knabe or a Steinway? So you met your little ouzel?

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several acres in dimensions. When I get in the High School & become rich, I am coming out to see you, if “that adoring circle” will allow. Janet & I are afraid you do not intend coming in for another 12 years, we do not want to gaze at you thro’ spectacles or meet you on crutches, so we appoint your visit as next fall, to come in with Prof. Jordan. Another dozen years might see Merrill chief justice, & Janet & I having our rights. I leave all the sensible news for Prof. Jordan to tell. We are all well.

Your friend

Kate M. Graydon.

232 N. Ala. St.)


exploded. I heard your mother was living in Iowa, & you had not been near her for twelve years. And then while I supposed you had not a lady friend in the world, I heard you were the centre of an adoring circle of ladies in San Francisco. If you heard any one laugh about that time, it was I. (This last piece of news came from London.) See if I ever waste my sympathy on you again! so the Fort Wrangel press has just issued Emerson’s last. Mama has an antidote for Emerson in the Longer Cate[illegible]ism, the cure being so

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fearful, that I’m careful not to need it. We learned the shorter catechism to propitiate, I suppose, the spirits of the [Murill’s?] who came over in 1637, & I have no doubt they looked from their blest abodes & smiled on us. Solomon too approves of the way in which we have been trained, it remains to be seen if we ever depart from it. Grandma Graydon once give us a willow appropriately called weeping willow, it was planted at our back-door & was pruned for our benefit without regard to time or season. Well, the elements though long delayed, were at last kind to us, & a tornado came along the other night & turned


that weeping willow upside down. Joy came with the morning, we six children stood around & laughed without measure. This is too silly, but it is such a relief to be out of school. I am at home now, away from my boarding school, & it is not a bad exchange from “Miss Graydon”, to “Katie.” Sometimes I get out of sorts & wonder why you & Prof. Gordan have all the sight-seeing & good times, then I am thankful I can sit at homes, [&?], free of all fatigue & expense, can see it all through your pen. I think you should have more consideration for woman’s weakness, than to suggest “lace sixty miles wide”, [next?] something will suggest a seal skin


Indianapolis, [Ind]

Date Original

1880 Mar 28


Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 25.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 04, Image 0083

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.


4 pages


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



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