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					   Scientist, Writer, Activist: Exploring John Muir’s Letters
   in Calisphere
   Standards Addressed:
   *CA H-SS Content Standard 8.6.7 and 8.12.5
   *CA H-SS Analysis Standard Research, Evidence, and Point of View
   *Common Core Reading Craft and Structure Reading informational text grades 6-8.6:
   Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author’s point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts).

                             What kinds of arguments did John Muir use in favor of the preservation of the natural world?


  Primary Source                       Context                             Audience                           Language                              Purpose
     Citation                  (What was going on in                (Who is receiving the              (What themes, imagery,               (How does the language
                                 the time period this               letter? What is his/her            and ideas are used in the             reveal Muir’s point of
                                source was written?)                 position, occupation,                      text?)                               view?)
                                                                  and/or interest in nature?)
Letter from John Muir        Growing post-war interest
 to Joseph LeConte            in mapping and knowing
 December 17, 1871             about the natural world.
                                  LeConte was a UC
                                professor who learned
                                  about glaciers from
                                Muir’s explorations of
                                        glaciers.
Letter from John Muir          Muir was introduced to
   to Ralph Waldo                Emerson through his
       Emerson,              friend and mentor, Jeanne
   March 26, 1872                Carr. When Emerson
                                visited CA in 1871, he
                                toured Yosemite with
                                Muir. Emerson valued
                             men who explored nature.
 Letter from John Muir        Muir and Johnson, an
 to Robert Underwood          editor of a New York
Johnson, March 4 1890       journal, worked together
                           to preserve Yosemite as a
                                  National Park.




    Letter 1:

    Courtesy of UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library
    http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt438nf19h/

    Title:
    Letter from [John Muir] to [Joseph] Le Conte, 1871 Dec 17.

    Creator/Contributor:
    John Muir
    Joseph Le Conte

    Date:
    1871 Dec 17

    Contributing Institution:
    UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library
Excerpted Transcript from Calisphere:
(2) …It is only the vastness of the glacial pathways of these mtns that prevents one from seeing them at once. The English alphabet would puzzle a
professor if written large enough if each letter were made up of many smaller ones. The bed of one unbroken ice river is frequently veiled with
forests a network of tiny water channels. The great central glaciers of Yosemite did not come squeezingly gropingly down to the main valley by
the narrow, angular, tortuous canons of Tenaya, Nevada, illegible tte, but all of this summit ice was united above the valley, even towards the later
glacial period flowed grandly directly over all the upper domes like a steady wind, while its lower, bottom currents went mazing (3) swedging
down among the crooked dome blocked channels below ---------------------- Glaciers have made every mountain form of this whole basin, even the
summit mountains are only fragments remrants of their first preglacial selves. Every summit wherein are laid the sources -the wombs of glaciers is
steeper upon the North than the south side because of the difference in depth duration between exposed sheltered glaciers, this difference in
steepness between the N South sides of summits is greater in the lower summits as those of the Obelisk group. This tells us something of the
glacial climate. Such mtns as illegible West? Starr King Cathedral peak etc do not come under this general law because their cont illigible were
determined by the ice wh flow- ed above them, but even among these basin mtns we frequently find marked difference of steepness upon their N S
sides because many of these mtns continued to shelter feed fragmentary glaciers long after the main trunks to wh they belonged were dead, like
those of the present day crouching behind Mt Lyell, Red mtn, Black mtn, etc. - steepening all their north sides. The streams of this region were
never much larger than they are at present. None of the upper Merced streams give any record of floods greater than the spring floods of today…

Excerpted Transcript with glossary for English Language Learners:

(2) …It is only the vastness of the glacial pathways of these mtns          glacial-having to do with glaciers, or large sheets of ice
[mountains] that prevents one from seeing them at once… The bed of          bed-the bottom of a river
one unbroken ice river is frequently veiled with forests a network of       veiled-hidden
tiny water channels. The great central glaciers of Yosemite did not         gropingly-going in a slow, stumbling way
come squeezingly gropingly down to the main valley by the narrow,
angular, tortuous canons [canyon?] of Tenaya, Nevada, [illegible] tte,      summit-the top of a mountain, the highest part
but all of this summit ice was united above the valley, even towards the
later glacial period flowed grandly directly over all the upper domes       domes-mountain peaks that are rounded on the top
like a steady wind, while its lower, bottom currents went mazing (3)
swedging down among the crooked dome blocked channels below ------          mazing-compex network of paths
---------------- Glaciers have made every mountain form of this whole
basin, even the summit mountains are only fragments remrants                basin-a hollow part of the earth’s surface, where the cliffs come to a common
[remnants] of their first preglacial selves... This tells us something of   center
the glacial climate…The streams of this region were never much larger       fragments-small parts of the whole
than they are at present…
Letter 2:
Courtesy of UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library
http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt9h4nf342/

Title:
Letter from John Muir to [Ralph Waldo] Emerson, 1872 Mar 26.

Creator/Contributor:
John Muir
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Date:
1872 Mar 26

Contributing Institution:
UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library
Excerpted Transcript from Calisphere:
Yosemite Valley March 26th 72. Evening ---- ----- Dear Emerson Yosemite is waving throbbing in that kind of storm called
Earthquake throbbing while I write. This morning at half past two oclock I was shaken most suddenly from sleep to blessed life. My
cabin was full of strange sounds, was rocking, crazing, swedging, shuddering in so boisterous a way that in crossing the floor I had to
stagger steady as if walking the deck of a schooner in waves. I had never experienced this kind of storm. Nevertheless I was not in
doubt one moment for as the John Baptist Angel said squarely, I am Gabriel, this storm said I am Earthquake, I rumbled out to the
open sky shooting. A noble Earthquake Noble Earthquake The ground so reeled jostled that I had to steady against a tree. The first
shock was sustained for about three minutes with tremendous energy. It was no combination of chattering dismering tremors, but a
most sublime out bloom of fervid passionate throbbings As if God had touched the mountains with a muscled hand, or were wearing
them upon Him as common bones flesh. The air was calm the moon shone free, exposing strange agitation in the trees They waved
whipped as if their limbs had all been pressed close to their trunks then suddenly let (2) free. I expected the down crash of the Sentinel
Rock, many more beside, but there was hushed silence, as even Gravitation were in awe At length from up the valley opposite
Yosemite Falls there came a glorious mountain voice. Would dear Soul that you had heard it, It would have become bone of your bone
forever. The Eagle Rock had given way, not with one huge blocky gasp, but singing deeper deeper - louder louder for minutes long as
years, pouring through trees bushes in grains big as cabins with smoke of fire dust that filled the valley from wall to wall, Firs, oaks,
spruces were snipped like thistles. But the best of this stupendous rockfall to me was that it solved a question I had been studying for
months, its application flashed upon me at the first boom, before a single boulder reached the ground. Yosemite granite is well plum
illegible dovetailed else little would now be left of her brows domes. 'Tis most astonishing that such scope, rapidily, flashing energy of
movement is possible to granite mountains…

Excerpted Transcript with glossary for English Language Learners:

Yosemite Valley March 26th 72. Evening ---- ----- Dear Emerson
Yosemite is waving throbbing in that kind of storm called Earthquake        throbbing—vibrating, moving in a rhythm
throbbing while I write. This morning at half past two oclock I was
shaken most suddenly from sleep to blessed life. My cabin was full of       blessed-sacred, goodness having to do with god
strange sounds, was rocking, crazing, swedging, shuddering in so
boisterous a way that in crossing the floor I had to stagger steady as if   deck-the floor of a ship (the part that is outside)
walking the deck of a schooner in waves. I had never experienced this       schooner-a type of boat
kind of storm. Nevertheless I was not in doubt one moment for as the
John Baptist Angel said squarely, I am Gabriel, this storm said I am        rumbled-move with sound
Earthquake, I rumbled out to the open sky shouting. A noble                 noble-something that is impressive, or better than others
Earthquake Noble Earthquake The ground so reeled jostled that I had to      reeled-moved unsteadily, swayed
steady against a tree. The first shock was sustained for about three        jostled—bumped
                                                                            sustained—lasted for a time
minutes with tremendous energy… As if God had touched the
mountains with a muscled hand, or were wearing them upon Him as
common bones flesh. The air was calm the moon shone free, exposing        agitation—movement
strange agitation in the trees They waved whipped as if their limbs had   limbs—branch of a tree
all been pressed close to their trunks then suddenly let (2) free. I
expected the down crash of the Sentinel Rock, many more beside, but
there was hushed silence, as even Gravitation were in awe At length
from up the valley opposite Yosemite Falls there came a glorious
mountain voice…
Letter 3:

Title: Letter from John Muir to [Robert Underwood] Johnson, 1890
Mar 4.

http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt3t1nf0r1/?__utma=209367296.59753803.132400377
1.1330290917.1330540566.23&__utmb=209367296.0.10.1330540566&__utmc=209367
296&__utmx=-
&__utmz=209367296.1330540566.23.8.utmcsr=content.cdlib.org|utmccn=%28referral%
29|utmcmd=referral|utmcct=/ark:/13030/kt9h4nf342/&__utmv=-&__utmk=187241899

Creator: John Muir

Publisher:
The Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley. Please
contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or
permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.

Contributor: Robert Underwood Johnson

Date: 1890 Mar 4

Relation:
Online finding aid for John Muir Correspondence

http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/kt0w1031nc

Rights: Copyrighted
The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust.
To purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish or exhibit
them, see
http://library.pacific.edu/ha/forms
Muir-Hanna Trust 1984

Collection:
John Muir Correspondence

Contributing Institution:
UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library
Excerpted Transcript from Calisphere:
(4)… The love of Nature among Californians is desperately moderate consuming enthusiasm almost wholly unknown. Long ago I
gave up the floor of Yosemite as a garden, looked only to the rough taluses inaccessible or hidden benches recesses of the walls. all
the flowers are wallflowers now, not only in Yosemite but to a great extent (5) throughout the length breadth of the Sierra. still the
Sierra flora is not yet beyond redemption much may be done by the movement you are making. As to the management it should I
think be taken wholly out of the Governors hands the office changes too often must always be more or less mixed with politics in its
bearing upon appointments for the valley. A commission consisting of the President of the university, the president of the state board
of agriculture the president of the Mechanics Institute would I think be a vast improvement on the present commission. Perhaps one of
the Commissioners should be an army officer. Such change would not be likely as far as I can see to provke any formidable opposition
on the part of Californians in general. Taking back the valley on the part of the government (6) would probably be a troublesome job.

Excerpted Transcript with glossary for English Language Learners:

(4)… The love of Nature among Californians is desperately moderate ...      desperately moderate—very limited, not a large amount
Long ago I gave up the floor of Yosemite as a garden, looked only to
the rough taluses inaccessible or hidden benches recesses of the walls.     taluses—slope at the bottom of a cliff
all the flowers are wallflowers now, not only in Yosemite but to a great    recesses—indentions, a part that is set inside, a cliff
extent (5) throughout the length breadth of the Sierra. still the Sierra
                                                                            flora-plants
flora is not yet beyond redemption much may be done by the movement         not yet beyond redemption—can still be saved
you are making. As to the management it should I think be taken wholly      taken wholly out of the Govenors hands—take control of (Yosemite) away
out of the Governors hands the office changes too often must always be      from the governor
more or less mixed with politics... Taking back the valley on the part of   on the part of—on behalf of
the government (6) would probably be a troublesome job
                                                    John Muir Letters on Calisphere
Links:
John Muir: Scientist, Writer, Activist – selected letters with essay:
http://www.calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu/themed_collection/john-muir-letters/

All 6,500 letters searchable and viewable at: http://www.calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu/

More selected letters with quotes:

Arrival and first months in California

"I have lived under the sunny sky of California nearly 3 1/2 months…I traveled along the San Jose valley from San Fran. to Gilroy and crossed the
Diabolo Mountains by the Pecheco pass, crossed the plains and river of San Joaquin, and traveled on into the Sierra Nevadas to the mammoth
trees and magnificent Yo Semite Valley, thence down the Merced to this place."

        Letter from John Muir to David Gilrye Muir, on Merced River near Snelling, CA 7/14/1868
        http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt8290374r/

"Flowers and fate have carried me to California, and I have reveled and luxuriated in its mountains and plants and bright sky for more than a
hundred days...Were it not for a thought now and then of isolation and loneliness, the happiness of my existence would be complete."
        John Muir to Catherine Merrill et al., at a farmhouse near Snelling, CA on the Merced River 7/19/1868
        http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt600034bp/

"I have a little dog, too. I call him Compie because he is my companion. The stars of California twinkle more than the stars that are above
Indiana...A flower grows in the mountains that is like candy-stalk, and leaves and all look just like red, crispy candy."

        John Muir to Charles Moores, from a sheep camp on the plains near Snelling, CA 12/21/1868
        http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt3n39r66k/

"I must return to the mountains - to Yo Semite I am told that the winter storms there will not be easily borne but I am bewitched-enchanted
tomorrow I must start for the great temple to listen to the winter songs sermons preached sung only there."

        John Muir to [Jeanne C.] Carr and [Ezra S.] Carr, La Grange CA 11/15/1869
        http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt3w1034p8/
Arrival and time in Yosemite

"I am feasting in the Lords Mountain house...New songs are sung forming parts of the one grand anthem composed written in the beginning Most
of the flowers are dead only a few are blooming in summer nooks on the north side rocks...You speak of dying going to the woods I am dead gone
to heaven."

        [John Muir] to Mrs. [Jeanne C.] Carr, Yosemite 12/6/1869
        http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt296nd8c5/

"I am sitting here in a little shanty made of sugar-pine shingles this Sabbath evening. I have not been at church a single time since leaving home.
Yet this glorious valley might well be called a church for every lover of the great Creator who comes within the broad overwhelming influences of
the place fail not to worship as they never did before."

        John Muir to David [Gilrye Muir], Yosemite, 3/20/1870?
        http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt767nf1c4/

"I do not live near the Yosemite but in it-in the very grandest warmest centre of it. I wish you could hear the falls tonight-they speak a most glorious
language I hear them easily through the thin walls of our cabin."

        John Muir to [Sarah Muir Galloway], Yosemite 3/24/1870
        http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt6d5nf2qs/

"Our valley is just gushing throbbing full of open absorbable beauty. I feel that I must tell you about it. I am lonely among my enjoyments - the
valley is full of visitors but I have no one to talk to."

        John Muir to Mrs. [Jeanne C.] Carr, Yosemite 5/17/[1870]
        http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt8w10362g/

Writings and Activism

"I have not written enough to compose with much facility, and as I am also very careful and have but a limited vocabulary, I make slow progress.
Still, although I never meant to write the results of my explorations, now I have begun I rather enjoy it and the public do me the credit of reading"

        [John Muir] to Sarah [Muir Galloway], San Francisco, 1/12/[1877]
        http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt9d5nf2m5/
"I am trying to get the Sierra club to take plain open ground on the Yosemite question as to the advisability of recognizing it as a natural part of the
Yosemite National Park, which it really is sooner or later must become in fact."

        John Muir to [Robert Underwood] Johnson, Martinez CA, 1/7/1897
        http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt6v19r9cv/

"I found not the slightest chance for Yosemite so late in the session after all the careless members had traded their votes...Ye Gods What's to be
done with the crazy Senate? Voting all on the holy Sabbath day for old-fashioned diabolical distribution of forests"

        John Muir to [Robert Underwood] Johnson, Martinez CA 3/6/1897
        http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt4s2034rz/

"Those Western Corporations with their shady millions seem invincible in the Senate. But the fight must go on."

        John Muir to [Robert Underwood] Johnson, Martinez CA, 6/18/1897
        http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt2199r4zr/

				
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