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New Cache Of Muir Letters Discovered In England

by Ron Limbaugh

(Reprinted from the John Muir Newsletter , v.4, no.2, Spring 1994)

Graham White of The Environment Centre, Drummond High School, Edinburgh, has send us transcriptions of five letters he located in the archives of the Royal Botanic (Kew) Gardens in England. With the help of Cheryl Piggott, Kew archivist, he found this correspondence among the papers of Sir Joseph Hooker, celebrated 19th century British botanist who toured the Shasta region with Muir and Asa Gray in 1877. Later Muir visited Hooker in England. As White remarks, Muir "certainly... was right in placing Hooker among the giants of the 19th century...."

Only one of the letters in the Kew Archives was published in the John Muir Papers microform edition of 1986. The four unpublished letters include one to Gray, 13 January 1878, and three to Hooker dated 1 February 1879, 20 February 1882, and 20 October 1904. The 1879 letter is a lengthy description of Muir's Great Basin expedition of 1878 during which he climbed Wheeler Peak (see John Muir Newsletter, Winter, 1992).

We are grateful to Mr. White for his generous assistance in providing transcriptions of these letters, which we hope we are able to publish in a future issue of this Newsletter.

Webmaster's note: These letters may now be found online here on the John Muir Exhibit:

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