Mary Muir Hand


Mary [Muir Hand]


[John Muir]



here to the depot. It was about one and a half hours from the time she left Joanna until the Portage train left here, and by the same length of time – no longer. After the train started her from us – the little baby died, It cried very hard for a while but we saw nothing alarming until a few minutes before it died. Really I was some alarmed as soon as I saw it, but J. said it had had several such crying times and soon quieted. I thought she knew best [deleted: and] as I had seen nothing of the baby excepting when it was quiet or sleeping. She held it in her own arms the last half hour – and saw –



[in margin: Please send me a true photograph or I may not get a true portrait- Baby sends kisses to his little cousin]

1881. Phillips, Wis.

Dear Brother & Sister,

Before me is a letter that I wrote to you Nov. 13th . I had scarcely finished it and was interrupted – Since that time many things have occupied my time in such a way that writing has almost seemed out of the question Accept of tardy, but most hearty congratulations on your happy meeting. We were overjoyed to know of the safe return of the “Carwin” I had feared that the coming winter days would

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deem long and weary to you, had you seen and heard nothing of each other — How kindly the good god mingles light with shade, sunshine with showers that come to us. Often and anxiously I had thought of the precious brother far away from us all-on so perilous an expedition, and invariably a comfort came to me in the thought that the same kind and tender care ever over and about you in all of your mountain expeditions, would still protect and prosper you — How glad I would be to see you in your home, and glad to


see you in our home We shall hope to be so blessed some day. How is your darling baby? Give her kisses from her auntie Hand My boy is 17 month old, as rosy cheeked. Merry and happy a little one as is ever fund. We think and up to all sorts of pleasing pranks — Poor dear Joanna suffered most keenly in the loss of her little one Sister Sarah washed and dressed the wee darling that morning and left it and Joanna looking unusually well and cozy, She came to our house and went from

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[in margin: As soon as I finish writing I will resume work on a crayon picture of a little boy. The boy is pretty and consequently the portrait has to be pretty too. Please send me a photo of any one you would like to have enlarged and I will do it gladly and with compliments]

nothing to alarm until the last – The shock was so sudden and unexpected that the poor girl could not believe the dreadful truth Oh my heart ached for her. The Dr. thought the disease might be spasmodic croup – but it had no cold noticeable. All is uncertain to us. Perhaps I am telling you no news as Annie or some other one may have told all this and much more- Two or three weeks ago Joanna was taken quite ill – but is now

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recovering quite rapidly She is again able to be about the house and out of doors some. She has a good working girl and so has no anxiety in that direction. Father has a comfortable home with her. He is quite feeble but seems well and happy. Willis is not at home today but I know sends love — Maybe this will reach you a little before Christmas, still I will send you most hearty compliments of the season. I shall be delighted to hear from you both,

Affectionately Sister Mary.



Phillips, Wisc.

Circa Date



Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 25 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 04, Image 0754

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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