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The Heart of John Muir's World: Wisconsin, Family, and Wilderness Discovery

by Millie Stanley

( from the publisher's press release )

The Heart of John Muir's World: Wisconsin, Family, and Wilderness Discovery
by Millie Stanley
1995 February 1
Prairie Oak Press
320 pages, 18 illustrations, 6 X 9 inches
ISBN 1-879483-22-X
LC 94-32445
$16.95 quality paperback

In this new, original, and refreshing work, Millie Stanley shows John Muir in a context in which he has rarely been seen or appreciated - that of loyal and devoted friend and family member. The outlook, the activities, the very ethic of Muir - wanderer in the wilderness, pioneer ecologist, explorer, writer, discoverer, scientist, environmental lobbyist, father of the national park system - are shown to have been formed by close human relationships throughout his long and productive career. Here, Stanley follows that career in a way no one ever has before, giving us a new and deeper understanding of America's great conservationist.

Readers, upon learning much more about the people who knew Muir and who touched his life, will at the same time gain a heightened appreciation of life in Wisconsin in pioneer days.

For this work, Stanley utilized hundreds of Muir family letters housed at the University of the Pacific , in Stockton, California. This correspondence sheds new light on Muir's nature and that of his parents, Anne and Daniel Muir, and his siblings. Many of John's letters display the exquisite prose for which he became noted in his published works. Muir's correspondence with his family continued for his entire life and now provides deepening insight into his life and work. the interest in his experiences and well-being expressed by family and friends sustained him through long absences from those he loved.

Stanley's narrative expands greatly on the early Wisconsin influences that helped shape Muir's character. It tells of his youthful years on Fountain Lake and Hickory Hill farms and shows that his early experiences set the tone for his later accomplishments on the national scene. It was in Marquette County, Wisconsin, in 1864, that Muir attempted to preserve a bit of Fountain Lake land for its beauty alone. That was the seed that grew into his major contribution to the formation of the national park system. Stanley continues to follow Muir as he lived, worked, and studied across the country, culminating in 46 richly productive years in California .

"This is not only a rich story of one of our country's greatest and noblest - it is a telling collection of intimate thoughts and details of daily living in the pioneer period of Wisconsin and the Midwest, with all its beauty, hardship and freedom. I am impressed by this book's energy and sensitivity, and by the breadth and depth of its investigation."
-- Gwen Schultz, author of Wisconsin's Foundations.

Millie Stanley has lived and worked for more than twenty years in Muir Country, in Marquette County, Wisconsin. Her work, incorporating a prodigious amount of research, utilizes many original documents and new resources published here for the first time. She conducted scores of interviews and listened to many Muir stories handed down through the generations by friends, neighbors, and family members. She utilized the archives of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin -Madison, as well as those of local libraries and historical societies, the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, California, and the Yosemite Park Library. The result of her research goes far in connecting Muir's Wisconsin roots to the greater body of his life and work.


Muir Family and Friends xxix
I Some of the Happiest Days of My Life
II Hickory Hill Farm
III Adrift in this big Sunny World
IV Wisdom Bins and Wheat Bins
V The Cornerstone
VI Nature's Basement Rooms
VII Planting the Seed
VIII The Hearth of John Muir's World
IX A Bit of Wisconsin Landscape
X Daniel Muir's Abdication
XI The Stream of Time
XII My Dear Wanderer
XIII A Helping Hand
XIV Preservation Causes and Family Affairs
XV The Shining Light
Chapter Notes

Ordering Information

Send order to

Prairie Oak Press
821 Prospect Place
Madison, Wisconsin 53703

Price: If prepaid, $16.95 per copy includes shipping and handling. (Wisconsin residents add 93 cents sales tax, per copy.) Write checks to Prairie Oaks Press.

If to be billed, $16.95 per copy, plus $2.00 postage and handling per copy. (Wisconsin residents please add 93 cents sales tax, per copy.)

Telephone orders to (608) 255-2288.
Fax orders to (608) 255-43204.
Sorry, no credit card orders.

Educators: If 10 or more copies are ordered for classroom use, a complimentary desk copy will be provided.

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