Jesse L. Smith
The Geographic Society of ChicagoJESSE L.SMITH,PRESIDENT POST OFFICE BOX 223OSCAR D.WHALIN.CON SECY. FOUNDED 1894CHICAGO 8/16/09.Mr. John Muir,Martinez, California.My dear Mr. Muir:I have at hand your letter of May 30 last addressed to Dr. George A. Dorsey which was in reply to an invitation he had sent you in behalf of the Chicago Geographic Society to be the guest of the Society at its annual banquet to be given somotime during the coming autumn. During the month of June Dr. Dorsey was assigned to certain duties relating to his special researches in anthropology which will necessitate his absence from Chicago during the next two or three years and he was obliged to resign from the position of President of the Geographic Society. I was elected to succeed Dr. Dorsey in the position and it is in that capacity that I venture to refer once again to the mat ter about which Dr. Dorsey wrote you.May I refer briefly to the work of our Society? The Chicago Geographic Society now has a membership of about five hundred which represents well the educational institutions in and near Chicago as well as the business and professional elements in general of the city The Society has a substantial record of achievement. It has issued four monographs of considerable importance treating of the topography and the natural history of the Chicago region, and a fifth monograph is now in preparation by Dr. Shelford of the University of Chicago.The Society has an endowed medal of which one issue has been04561c/3Chicago8/16/09. The Geographic Society of ChicagoJESSE L.SMITH,PRESIDENT POST OFFICE BOX 223OSCAR D.WHALIN.CON SECY. FOUNDED 1894CHICAGOmade, Capt. Roald T. Amundsen being the first recipient.Excursion work has an important place among the activities of the Society and with due regard for the limitations of our near-by topography we are endeavoring to emulate the good work of the Sierra and Appalachian Clubs. We were represented at the hearing of the Senate Committee in Washington when the Hetchy-Hetchy Valley matter was being discussed. We prepared a bill and followed it to successful issue before our state legislature which provides for a commission to report upon the incorporation of Starved Rock and the Canyons of the Illinois into a permanent state reserve, and we expect to succeed in the final accomplishment of that result. During the past year, besides our regular monthly excursions, one day in length each, we have had a two days' excursion to Starved Rock, Ill., a three days' excursion to the region of the Dalles of the Wisconsin, and a very successful excursion, lately accomplished under my leadership, in which we spent eighteen days in a camping tour through the Shoshone National Forest and Yellowstone national Park.I have made the above reference to our Society to show that its membership is dominated by a class of wide-awake, nature-loving people to whom your message has meant much and who would esteem it a great privilege to try to show by their hospitality how much they appreciate the vision and the point of view which your life work has ministered to.If I seem to be insistent with reference to the possibility04561 The Geographic Society of ChicagoJESSE L.SMITH,PRESIDENT POST OFFICE BOX 223OSCAR D.WHALIN.CON SECY. FOUNDED 1894CHICAGOof your acceptance of an invitation from our Society, I trust that my good intent will at least be apparent. We wish very much that it might be possible for you to be the guest of honor at our annual banquet to be given at the Auditorium in Chicago sometime during either the last week in October or the first week in November. Perhaps we might try to tempt you by setting the date nearer to October 20, which is usually the climax of the autumn coloration in this region!Aside from your appearing on the program at the banquet, our Society would make no claim upon your time, but the Directors of our Society representing the staff of the University of Chicago, of Northwestern University, of Field Museum, and of important down-town clubs, would gratefully appreciate any opportunity to make your stay in Chicago as pleasant as the resources of the city and its beautiful suburbs will permit. The Society would be pleased to contribute two hundred dollars towards your expenses.Dr. Dorsey representing the Field Museum of Natural History and Dr. J. Paul Goode representing the University of Chicago have authorized me to make inquiry whether or not you would be willing to come as the guest of these two institutions also. If you could give a favorable reply, then formal invitations would be sent by the proper authorities. It is probable that the University of Chicago would wish you to address the student body at some convenient time and the Field Museum would wish to put you down for one of their Saturday afternoon04561 The Geographic Society of ChicagoJESSE L.SMITH,PRESIDENT POST OFFICE BOX 223OSCAR D.WHALIN.CON SECY. FOUNDED 1894CHICAGOtalks which are given down town at the Art Institute and which are open to the general public. These two institutions would wish to contribute an additional sum towards your expenses, I suppose seventyfive or one hundred dollars each.Let me hasten to add with reference to the invitations from the University and Museum officials that I trust you will not feel it necessary to accept them if you agree to appear as our guest. If you can do it, it will be gratifying to all concerned, but we will feel that we have been greatly favored if you find it necessary to allot your time only to the Geographic Society.Awaiting your reply with great interest, I remain,Sincerely yours,Jesse L.SmithPlease note suburban address:I4I So. 2nd St., Highland Park, Ill,04561
1909 Aug 16
Original letter dimensions: 28 x 21.5 cm.
Smith, Jesse L., "Letter from Jesse L. Smith to John Muir, 1909 Aug 16." (1909). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 5845.
Reel 18, Image 0664
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