J[ohn] M. Vanderbilt


John Muir


[1] 01020

Steamer [Favorite?] Kilisnoo Alasaka July 9th 1881.

Dear Mr Muir

You can understand how surprised we were to receive your letter informing us that you intended sailing on the “Corwin” for the Artic – both my wife and I sincerely trust and pray that you will have a pleasant time and return without delay to your family. I would like very much indeed to make such a trip and can appreciate your feelings in wanting to visit the polar regions – as a summer trip I look upon it as almost similar to a trip through this region of country; in winter why a very different experience. We will watch with deep interest for any news of your movements. We intend to write to your wife by this mail and we sincerely hope that in a measure our words will cheer her. With us here the season has so

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far passed very pleasantly – I have been with [my?] wife & children a few days each month, which time I always look forward to with considerable pleasure. Our health has been good. I am now at our Kilisnoo Post with the steamer where we have established a whaling station, & have at the present time the first whale dead on the beach, it is a humpback whale of about 60 [illegible]. I anticipate a good season, the waters are full of whales, but as we take them at present only in shoal water we will not do much before the end of next month when the whales will begin to run up the lagoons for feed. We have a large s[illegible] coming from Boston with which we will take he[illegible] & convert them into oil, our try works will be located at our store. The season with us has opened very well indeed & I have been very constantly occupied since starting out this spring. The new town of [Harrisburgh?] near the Auck Glacier is progressing finely, it is now a place of sixty or more houses with a wharf and ga[illegible] established by the “I[illegible]” – it is a very quiet

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and peaceful town for a mining camp. Many places claims are doing well and capitalists of San Francisco have taken ahold of quartz which looks very well. Quite a number of prospectors are out in other sections but no new finds have been made at present. We have had a photographer travelling with us for two months taking views about the country, he has taken a fine collection of glaciers, icebergs, mountains &c &c. Rev. Young has made a short rip with me and is now on his way to Wrangel in a canoe. He is doing well both physically & otherwise, he expressed surprise when hearing that you had gone north but wishes you all the success possible, we are both disappointed in knowing that you will not be here this season but hope that you can be with us next season. The Mission at [Chileat?] is rather [Chileoot?], by our store, is to be established this month – our old friend & traveler

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[deleted: will?] Dr. Jackson will arrive at Sitka on the incoming steamer & will spend a couple of months in having the inclement weather of this inhospitable country. “The bells will ring, the [illegible] will shout & the people will all turn out” when Dr J. comes marching along – we hear already his great name mentioned – look out for a new edition of Alaska by Rev. R. J. this fall – This time he comes alone. We are very sorry that Rev. Mr. Lyons & wife have left Sitka & have located in Oregon, they were nice people & good friends & we miss them very much. You will be surprised to hear that Major Morris has relieved Col. Ball as collector of [illegible] here – Major Morris is expected on the August steamer to resume the duties of the office, it is said that he will bring a lot of new depu[illegible] with him. There is a movement on foot to hold a convention at Harrisburgh to call an election for a Delegate to Congress to represent the Territory, it is thought that Col. Ball will receive the majority of votes. Major Berry will likely be the other aspirant to the position. We will be very sorry to lose Col Ball & family & Doctor D[illegible[ Laney, it seems

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that all of our friends are leaving the country. I hope that you will find an opportunity to drop me a few lines we will be anxious to hear from you & whatever you may write will be welcome news. My wife joins me in wishing you and the “Corwin” every success with assurance of our sincere friendship I remain

faithfully yours J.M. Vanderbilt

P.S. I had the pleasure of meeting Capt Hooper in Seattle some time ago when he was about leaving the “Wolcott” to take command of the “Corwin”, if he should remember me please present him with my good wishes.



Steamer Favorite, Kilisnoo, Alaska

Date Original

1881 Jul 9


Original letter dimensions: 27 x 21 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 04, Image 0652

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.


5 pages


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



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