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Mildred Irene "Millie" Stanley

1920 - 2011

  • Millie Stanley with her book the Heart of John Muir's WorldMillie Stanley was a Muir scholar, Wisconsin historian, and author of a comprehensive biography of John Muir's early years in Wisconsin and his life-long family relationships. Far from being just a solitary wanderer, Millie shows the human side of Muir, noting that "Wherever he went, this man of personal magnetism made lasting friendships with people from all walks of life. He carried on a voluminous correspondence with his legions of friends, colleagues, fellows scientists, fellow activists, and his family."
  • Millie Stanley's book The Heart of John Muir's World, first published in 1995, is a fascinating account of Muir's youth, his family and friends, and life among the early settlers in rural Wisconsin. The book had a second printing in 1996, and a special limited edition printing in 2010 (shown in the image).
  • As a scholar of Muir's early years in Wisconsin, she was distraught at the common misinformation alleging that Muir went to Canada in 1864 as a draft dodger. Her scholarly analysis of this period in Muir's life, shows unequivocally that "To the contrary, John had studiously stayed home in Wisconsin and kept track of the draft calls. It cannot be said that he was a draft evader and it is not appropriate to label him as such." Her paper with this conclusion was published as "John Muir and the Civil War" in the University of the Pacific John Muir Newsletter, Vol. 12, No. 4, Fall, 2002).
  • Millie noted that Muir's desire to preserve wilderness was a fond notion of his long before he heard of a national park. Muir attempted to purchase the wildflower meadow of his boyhood home at Fountain Lake to preserve it. Millie noted: "This was John Muir's first attempt to preserve land for its beauty alone. Accordingly, as early as February 1864, in the Town of Buffalo, Marquette County, Wisconsin, the seed of land preservation was planted in John Muir's heart and mind. The seed germinated, took root, and eventually grew into his major contribution to the formation of the national park system."
  • Millie was born in Chicago, Illinois June 16, 1920. She died in Montello, Wisconsin, on February 14, 2011, aged 90.
  • Millie attended Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., and graduated from the University of Iowa.
  • Millie moved to Wisconsin in 1962, and became active at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum as a tour guide. In the Portage area, she was president of the Columbia County Historical Society and was instrumental in establishing the Myrtle Lintner Spear Museum in Pardeeville. Millie lived in the Pardeeville area for 40 years, approximately one mile from the boyhood home of John Muir.

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