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Letter to Joseph Hooker, April 20, 1902

by John Muir

Martinez, California April 20, 1902

My dear Sir Joseph,

I cannot tell how great is the pleasure your letter has given me, recalling auld lang syne, leading me to hope my work for the trees has not been altogether in vain, telling the welfare of your family and above all bringing yourself again into clear view still strong and at work, towering like a lone aboriginal sequoia, the last of that noble group of the last century's scientific leaders and truth lovers whose names I need not write here.

Professor Sargent and I are planning a journey through the forests of Siberia and Manchuria. Possibly, we may start within a year from now, and shall then hope to see you as we go by way of London. Mrs Muir is often troubled with rheumatism and will not I fear ever undertake a European trip. I have two daughters, Wanda and Helen, twenty one and fifteen years of age. I took them to the High Sierra last summer, they are capital walkers and able for travels of any sort. The eldest is a student at the State university.

I'm glad your son came safely through that dismal Boer War. Joe will no doubt be a good surgeon. I remember him well talking very seriously about the profession while yet a mere child.

I shall not forget the diamonds on the cones of the Sugar Pines next time I write about those grand trees. The action of sandblasts on dwarf pines and junipers I have often noted and hope to call attention to it sometime in connection with other tree studies. In view of the threatened extinction of Sequoia in the Sierra it is comforting to know that it is growing well and is widely distributed in the parks and gardens of Europe.

Congratulating you on the completion of your great work on the Flora of India and wishing you many more happy years, I am, with best compliments to Lady Hooker, very sincerely yours,

John Muir.

Source: Kew Gardens archives, London, England; transcribed by Graham White

Acquired November 11, 1999

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