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2006

John Muir Newsletters

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The John Muir Newsletter, Winter 2006/2007, The John Muir Center For Environmental Studies Dec 2006

The John Muir Newsletter, Winter 2006/2007, The John Muir Center For Environmental Studies

John Muir Newsletters

The John Muir EWSLETTEB Two California Lions: John Muir & Luther Burbank by Roberta M. McDow, Stockton, CA I have long wanted to know you," John Muir wrote from his home in Martinez, California on January 6, 1910. "Strange how people so near are so long kept apart."1 His message accompanied a receipt dated December 29, 1909 for five dollars, about one hundred in today's currency, contributed to the Society for the Preservation of National Parks.2 A day later, Muir's letter arrived at its destination in Santa Rosa. The recipient was Luther Burbank. Burbank had lived in the area since 1875 when, as a young man of twenty-six, he left Massachusetts to join his brother Alfred.3 He thought his brother had settled on "the chosen spot of all this earth as far as Nature is concerned... ."4 Here he put down his roots and began his life's work in horticulture. Two decades earlier and less than forty miles away, John Strentzel had purchased land near Martinez where he grew a variety of fruit trees in search of the most suitable for the region. But all experimentation ceased when Strentzel's son-in-law, John Muir, became the manager of the Alhambra Valley property.5 Muir's goals were to provide for his family, finance his own scientific inquiries and have the time to pursue them. To him, plants were objects of beauty and love in the wild, but breeding them to produce more and better food was not his vocation. Yet Muir and Burbank had interests in common and in some ways their lives almost mirrored each other. Muir, born in Dunbar, Scotland on April 21, 1838, was about eleven years older than Burbank.6 The latter was born at Lancaster, Massachusetts on March 7, 1849, the same year the Muir family immigrated to America.7 Through his mother, Burbank was also of Scottish ancestry.8 Both men lived about seventy-seven years, Muir shy of that number by four months, Burbank over it by one.9 By 1910, Burbank had resided in Sonoma County for thirty-five years. Muir had lived in neighboring Contra Costa County for thirty. Both married relatively late in life: Muir to Louie Strentzel in 1880, when he was forty-two,10 Burbank to his first wife Helen Coleman in 1890 when he was forty-one.11 The formal education of both men ended before they received degrees. Muir studied at the University (continued on page 5) Page 1

NeWs & Notes. Muir Center Director Swagerty Follows Muir's Footsteps "Down under" From March 19 to April 29, Bill Swagerty followed John Muir's 1903-04 trek to New Zealand and Australia. Awarded a Fulbright Senior Specialist grant, Swagerty lectured at University of Waikato in Hamilton and at Victoria University, both on the North Island. Three of his talks focused on Muir: :Origins of John Muir's Environmentalism;" "John Muir's Life and Legacy;" and "John Muir in New Zealand." The trip began and ended in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city and a place Muir entered by steamer in January, 1904, returning after an extensive tour overland of both north and south islands by rail, stage, boat, and on foot. Bill Swagerty with the largest tree in New Zealand, the Kuari named "Tane Mahuta" meaning "God of the Forest." Muir did not see this tree, but was in the general area within the Waipoua Forest. Muir's purpose ...


The John Muir Newsletter, Fall 2006, The John Muir Center For Environmental Studies Aug 2006

The John Muir Newsletter, Fall 2006, The John Muir Center For Environmental Studies

John Muir Newsletters

The John Muir pr/- FEB UNlVfeHSnY 0F THE PACIFIC, STOCKTON, CA VOLUME 16, NC1MBKX 4 Fall 2006 John Muir's World Tour (part IV) Introduction by W. R. Swagerty Director, John Muir Center Edited by John Hurley and W.R. Swagerty In Part IV of John Muir's unpublished World Tour, we follow Muir from Egypt to Ceylon (Sri Lanke) to Australia. Notebook "# 51" begins with a description of Suez as a "queer old town" followed by praise for the oasis-environment that produces so many palms and bananas. Much of the notebook focuses on Muir's touring of the Pyramids ...


The John Muir Newsletter, Spring/Summer 2006, The John Muir Center For Environmental Studies Apr 2006

The John Muir Newsletter, Spring/Summer 2006, The John Muir Center For Environmental Studies

John Muir Newsletters

John Muir's World Tour (part III) Introduction by W. R. Swagerty Director, John Muir Center In this issue, we resume John Muir's unpublished notebooks from his World Tour, 1903-1904. This double issue covers the dates August 18 through November 2, 1903, all recorded in notebook number fifty of the John Muir Papers at University of the Pacific. The transcription by Pulizer-prize winner and Muir-biographer Linnie Marsh Wolfe (1881-1945) is part of her papers, also at Pacific in Holt-Atherton Special Collections, a subset of.. ' the Muir Papers. The Wolfe Papers are described thus in the on-line catalog to Holt-Atherton ...