Muir, John, 1838-1914

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1838-04-21
Death 1914-12-24
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

American author and naturalist.

From the description of Papers of John Muir [manuscript], 1885-1915. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647833450

From the description of Letter to Dewitt Miller, 1895 February 18. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 64433074

Naturalist, author, conservationist, John Muir is considered a precursor of the environmentalist movement. Through his numerous books and articles, which emphasize the importance of wilderness experiences to cultivation of spiritual values and maintenance of high-quality civilization, Muir brought appreciation of the natural environment to national consciousness. Instrumental in creation of National Park system, Muir was directly involved in creation of Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon, and Mt. Rainier parks. He later founded the Sierra Club (1892).

From the description of Muiriana Collection, 1864-2004. (University of the Pacific). WorldCat record id: 232329828

Naturalist, author, conservationist. Considered a precursor of environmentalist movement. Through his numerous books and articles, which emphasize importance of wilderness experiences to cultivation of spiritual values and maintenance of high-quality civilization, Muir brought appreciation of natural environment to national consciousness. Instrumental in creation of National Park system, Muir was directly involved in creation of Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon, and Mt. Rainier parks. He later founded Sierra Club (1892).

From the description of John Muir papers; 1849-1957. (University of the Pacific). WorldCat record id: 35299088

John Muir (1838-1914) led the nation toward an understanding and appreciation of the natural environment and its value as both a material and spiritual resource. James Eastman Shone was the great-grandson of John Muir's sister, Sarah Muir Galloway.

From the description of James Eastman Shone Collection of Muiriana, 1831-1971. (University of the Pacific). WorldCat record id: 168389708

Nationally renowned author and conservationist writes in four letters of family illnesses, busy writing schedule, personal and Sierra Club business. Gives Coolbrith, future poet laureate of California (1915), permission to use his Stickeen story in public reading; agrees to sit on unnamed committee (1906-1911).

From the description of Ina Coolbrith correspondence, 1906-1911. (University of the Pacific). WorldCat record id: 35552176

American naturalist.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : San Francisco, to [the Patons?], 1880 Feb. 9. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270612998

John Muir, renowned conservationist, worked as a young man at Trout's Ontario, Canada factory and sawmill (1864-1866) until mill burned down. Trout discusses family, factory and religion. Muir discusses his writing and debates with Trout about Darwin's theories (1876-1913).

From the description of John Muir/William Trout correspondence, 1876-1913. (University of the Pacific). WorldCat record id: 34775095

John Muir (1838-1914) was a naturalist, conservationist, and author. His published works include: The mountains of California, Our national parks, The Yosemite, and My first summer in the Sierra.

From the description of Letters of John Muir, 1902-1955. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 122593722

Biography / Administrative History

Naturalist, author, conservationist. Considered a precursor of environmentalist movement. Through his numerous books and articles, which emphasize importance of wilderness experiences to cultivation of spiritual values and maintenance of high-quality civilization, Muir brought appreciation of natural environment to national consciousness. Instrumental in creation of National Park system, Muir was directly involved in creation of Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon, and Mt. Rainier parks. He later founded Sierra Club (1892).

From the guide to the Muiriana collection, 1864-2004, (University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Dept. of Special Collections)

Biography / Administrative History

A Scottish-born journalist and naturalist, John Muir (1838-1914) studied botany and geology at the University of Wisconsin (1861-1863). He worked for awhile as a mill hand at the Trout Broom Factory in Meaford, Canada (1864-1866), then at an Indianapolis carriage factory (1866-1867), until an accident temporarily blinded him and directed his thoughts toward full-time nature study. Striking out on foot for South America, Muir walked to the Gulf of Mexico (September 1867-January 1868), but a long illness in Florida led him to change his plans and turn his interests westward. Muir arrived by ship at San Francisco (March 1868), walked to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and began a five year wilderness sojourn (1868-1873) during which he made his year-round home in the Yosemite Valley. Working as a sheepherder and lumberman when he needed money for supplies, Muir investigated the length and breadth of the Sierra range, focusing most of his attention on glaciation and its impact on mountain topography. He began to publish newspaper articles about what he saw in the California mountains and these articles brought him to the attention of such intellectuals as Asa Gray and Ralph Waldo Emerson, both of whom sought him out during their visits to California. Encouraged by Jeanne Carr, wife of his one-time botany professor, Ezra S. Carr, Muir took up nature writing as a profession (1872). He set up winter headquarters in Oakland and began a pattern of spring and summer mountaineering followed by winter writing based upon his travel journals that he held to until 1880. His treks took him to Mount Shasta (1874, 1875 & 1877), the Great Basin (1876, 1877, 1878), southern California and the Coast Range (1877), and southern Alaska (1879). Muir found that he could finance his modest bachelor lifestyle with revenue from contributions published in various San Francisco newspapers and magazines. During this period he launched the first lobbying effort to to protect Sierra forests from wasteful lumbering practices (1876).

In 1880 he married Louisa Strentzel, daughter of a prominent physician and horticulturist in Martinez, Calif. Quickly learning the fruit business, Muir soon found himself caught up in the full-time management of his father-in-law's orchard properties. Two daughters (Annie Wanda, b. 1881 and Helen Lillian, b. 1886) added to his domestic responsibilities. His writing diminished during this decade, with only one lengthy project completed ( Picturesque California, 1888).

Prompted by the persistent urging of Robert Underwood Johnson, an editor of Century Magazine, and freed from many business obligations by his father-in-law's death and the subsequent sale of much of Strentzel's property by Louisa Strentzel Muir, John Muir launched a major writing and lobbying campaign that culminated in the creation of Yosemite, Sequoia and General Grant (Kings Canyon) National Parks (1890). He also helped found the Sierra Club (1892) and used its collective influence to protect the boundaries of Yosemite (1895) from lumber interests. During the 1890s Muir again began to travel, visiting Alaska, 1890; Europe, 1893; Arizona & Oregon, 1896; Canada & Alaska, 1897, 1899; the Midwest and New England, 1898) and also published his first important book, The Mountains of California (1894).

During Muir's final fourteen years, he was hounded by a variety of family difficulties and political failures that probably hastened his death. Louisa, Muir's wife, died in 1905. In the same year his younger daughter, Helen, contracted tuberculosis and Muir shepherded the young woman to various spas ultimately settling her in Daggett in the Mojave Desert (1905). Meanwhile, the naturalist found himself at odds with "utilitarian" conservationists like Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot, who were less interested in the preservation of wilderness than in the controlled 'harvesting' of forest resources. Pinchot also favored conversion of the Hetch Hetchy Valley to a reservoir for the city of San Francisco, an idea which ultimately became a reality despite Muir's dogged opposition (1908-1913). Still, John Muir found time and energy both for travel and for writing. In 1903 he ushered President Theodore Roosevelt through Yosemite, then shortly afterward took a year's voyage around the world (1903-1904). In 1906 Muir spent much time with daughter Helen in Arizona, the following year he summered in the Hetch Hetchy with California painter, William Keith and in 1909 visited the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River with John Burroughs and E.H. Harriman. His most extended trip during these years was a six month tour of South America and Africa (1911-1912). Muir somehow found time during the same years to publish Stickeen (1908), My First Summer in the Sierra (1910) and The Yosemite (1912).

From the guide to the John Muir papers, 1849-1957, (University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Dept. of Special Collections)

A Scottish-born journalist and naturalist, John Muir (1838-1914) studied botany and geology at the University of Wisconsin (1861-1863). He worked for awhile as a mill hand at the Trout Broom Factory in Meaford, Canada (1864-1866), then at an Indianapolis carriage factory (1866-1867), until an accident temporarily blinded him and directed his thoughts toward full-time nature study. Striking out on foot for South America, Muir walked to the Gulf of Mexico (September 1867-January 1868), but a long illness in Florida led him to change his plans and turn his interests westward. Muir arrived by ship at San Francisco (March 1868), walked to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and began a five year wilderness sojourn (1868-1873) during which he made his year-round home in the Yosemite Valley. Working as a sheepherder and lumberman when he needed money for supplies, Muir investigated the length and breadth of the Sierra range, focusing most of his attention on glaciation and its impact on mountain topography. He began to publish newspaper articles about what he saw in the California mountains and these articles brought him to the attention of such intellectuals as Asa Gray and Ralph Waldo Emerson, both of whom sought him out during their visits to California. Encouraged by Jeanne Carr, wife of his one-time botany professor, Ezra S. Carr, Muir took up nature writing as a profession (1872). He set up winter headquarters in Oakland and began a pattern of spring and summer mountaineering followed by winter writing based upon his travel journals that he held to until 1880. His treks took him to Mount Shasta (1874, 1875 & 1877), the Great Basin (1876, 1877, 1878), southern California and the Coast Range (1877), and southern Alaska (1879). Muir found that he could finance his modest bachelor lifestyle with revenue from contributions published in various San Francisco newspapers and magazines. During this period he launched the first lobbying effort to protect Sierra forests from wasteful lumbering practices (1876).

In 1880 he married Louisa Strentzel, daughter of a prominent physician and horticulturist in Martinez, Calif. Quickly learning the fruit business, Muir soon found himself caught up in the full-time management of his father-in-law's orchard properties. Two daughters (Annie Wanda, b. 1881 and Helen Lillian, b. 1886) added to his domestic responsibilities. His writing diminished both in quantity and quality during this decade, with only one lengthy project completed (Picturesque California, 1888).

Prompted by the persistent urging of Robert Underwood Johnson, an editor of Century Magazine, and freed from many business obligations by his father-in-law's death and the subsequent sale of much of Strentzel's property by Louisa Strentzel Muir, John Muir launched a major writing and lobbying campaign that culminated in the creation of Yosemite, Sequoia and General Grant National Parks (1890). He also helped found the Sierra Club (1892) and used its collective influence to protect the boundaries of Yosemite (1895) from lumber interests. During the 1890s Muir again began to travel, visiting Alaska, 1890; Europe, 1893; Arizona & Oregon, 1896; Canada & Alaska, 1897, 1899; the Midwest and New England, 1898) and also published his first important book, The Mountains of California (1894).

During Muir's final fourteen years, he was hounded by a variety of family difficulties and political failures that probably hastened his death. Louisa, Muir's wife, died in 1905. In the same year his younger daughter, Helen, contracted tuberculosis and Muir shepherded the young woman to various spas ultimately settling her at Daggett in the Mojave Desert (1905). Meanwhile, the naturalist found himself at odds with "utilitarian" conservationists like Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot, who were less interested in the preservation of wilderness than in the controlled "harvesting" of forest resources. Pinchot also favored conversion of the Hetch Hetchy Valley to a reservoir for the city of San Francisco, an idea which ultimately became a reality despite Muir's dogged opposition (1908-1913). Still, John Muir found time and energy both for travel and for writing. In 1903 he ushered President Theodore Roosevelt up Half Dome, then shortly afterward took a year's voyage around the world (1903-1904). In 1906 Muir spent much time with daughter Helen in Arizona, the following year he summered in the Hetch Hetchy with California painter, William Keith and in 1909 visited the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River with John Burroughs and E.H. Harriman. His most extended trip during these years was a six month tour of South America and Africa (1911-1912). Muir somehow found time during the same years to publish Stickeen (1908), My First Summer in the Sierra (1910) and The Yosemite (1912).

From the guide to the John Muir Correspondence, 1856-1914, (The Bancroft Library.)

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Subjects:

  • Wildlife conservationists--Correspondence
  • Wildlife conservation
  • Sunday legislation
  • Environmentalism
  • Hetch Hetchy Valley (Calif.)
  • Yosemite National Park (Calif.)--History
  • Naturalists--Correspondence
  • National parks and reserves--Law and legislation
  • Conservation of natural resources
  • Glacial landforms
  • Authors, American--Correspondence
  • Forest reserves
  • Ferns--Type specimens--Ferns--Type specimens
  • Naturalists
  • Environmentalism--West (U.S.)
  • Naturalists--California--Diaries
  • National parks and reserves--United States--History
  • National parks and reserves--History
  • Industrialists--Correspondence
  • Forests and forestry
  • Public lands
  • Naturalists--California--Drawings
  • Vegetation surveys
  • Conservationists--Correspondence
  • Environmental protection
  • Forest conservation
  • Forestry law and legislation
  • National parks and reserves
  • Geological surveys
  • Sierra Nevada (Calif. and Nev.) Description and travel
  • Glacial landforms--West (U.S.)

Occupations:

  • Naturalist

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)
  • Alaska (as recorded)
  • West (U.S.) (as recorded)
  • Alaska (as recorded)
  • Mount Shasta (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Yellowstone National Park (as recorded)
  • West (U.S.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Wisconsin (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Yosemite National Park (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Alaska (as recorded)
  • Canada (as recorded)
  • California--Correspondence (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Camp Randall (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Hetch Hetchy Valley (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Canada (as recorded)
  • Iowa (as recorded)
  • Yosemite National Park (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Yosemite National Park (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • West (U.S.) (as recorded)
  • Soviet Union (as recorded)
  • Hetch Hetchy Valley (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Sierra Nevada (Calif. and Nev.) (as recorded)
  • Alaska (as recorded)
  • California--Drawings (as recorded)
  • Prairie du Chien (Wis.) (as recorded)
  • West (U.S.) (as recorded)
  • Hetch Hetchy Resevoir (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Yosemite National Park (Calif.) (as recorded)