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Guide to the Robert Underwood Johnson papers, 1889-1924
BANC MSS C-B 385  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Robert Underwood Johnson Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1889-1924
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 385
    Creator: Johnson, Robert Underwood, 1853-1937
    Extent: Number of containers: 8 boxes (1245 folders),1 oversize folder
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Chiefly concerning conservation of the Yosemite area, including campaign, 1913, against Hetch Hetchy reservoir. Material relating to Sequoia, General Grant and other national parks and to forest reserves included. A few printed items: reports, circulars, copies of laws, etc., with the papers. Includes 146 letters of John Muir and letters from General and Mrs. John Bidwell, Mr. and Mrs. James Mason Hutchings, Charles D. Robinson, George G. Mackenzie, Edward T. Parsons, William E. Colby, Charles Howard Shinn, and other Californians, and John W. Noble, Gifford Pinchot, Oliver Wolcott Gibbs, Henry Fairfield Osborn, Theodore Roosevelt. George Bird Grinnell and others prominent on the national scene.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Robert Underwood Johnson papers, BANC MSS C-B 385, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Material Cataloged Separately

    Printed Material

    • California. Commissioners to manage the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Big Tree Grove. Report, 1866-7 (San Francisco. Towne & Bacon, 1868).
    • California. Commisioners to manage the Yosemite Valley ... Rules, Regulations and By-Laws ... (Sacramento ... 1885)
    • Rules and Regulations of the Yosemite National Park (Facsimile signature, John W. Noble, Secretary of the Interior).
    • McLean, John T. Statement concerning Senate Bill no. 2708 and House Bill no. 7712 ... [1896]
    • Manson, Marsden. A statement of San Francisco's side of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir matter ... Dec. 30, 1909.
    • The Water Users Association of the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts ... Available sources of water supply for San Francisco ... [1913?]
    • Miller, Clement H. Address ... before the San Francisco Center of the California Civic League ... 1913.
    • Chittenden, H. M. Forests and reservoirs ... 1908 (reprinted from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Proceedings, v. xxiv, p. 924[?].
    • U.S. Department of the Interior. Report of the Advisory Board of Army Engineers to the Secretary of the Interior ... relative to sources of water supply for San Francisco ... 1913.
    • Boone and Crockett Club. Brief History ... with officers, constitution and list of members for the year 1910.

    Maps

    • Le Conte, John N. (Compiled for the Sierra Club) -1893:

      Map of a portion of the Sierra Nevada adjacent to the King's River.
    • Le Conte, John N. (Compiled for the Sierra Club) -1893:

      Map of a portion of the Sierra Nevada adjacent to Yosemite and Hetch Hetchy Valleys.

    Biography

    Robert Underwood Johnson, author, conservationist, and diplomat, was born in New York in 1853. For more than forty years he was associated with The Century Magazine. Associate Editor under Richard Watson Gilder, he succeeded to the editorship from 1909-1913. In 1920-1921 he served as Ambassador to Italy and represented the United States at the San Remo Conference. After his return to this country he devoted himself chiefly to the publication of poetry and his memoirs, Remembered Yesterdays, until his death in 1937.
    In the summer of 1889, Johnson came to California to organize a series of articles for The Century. He met John Muir and with him visited Yosemite -an experience which profoundly influenced his life. He spent the next twenty five years actively promoting all the movements to safeguard the natural beauty of the West. He aided campaigns to make Yosemite Valley and the Sequoia Big Tree groves National Parks. In 1913, he spearheaded in the East the unsuccessful fight to preserve the Hetch Hetchy Valley from becoming the reservoir for San Francisco's water supply.

    Scope and Content

    His voluminous papers were sold by his family. Unsuccessful in disposing of the papers as a unit, the dealer who acquired them divided them into groups to facilitate their sale. The Bancroft Library purchased in 1950-1951 from Mary A. Benjamin that portion which dealt with California and Johnson's interest in conservations.
    There are relatively few copies of Johnson's own letters in the collection. Of these, by far the largest portion consists of carbon copies of letters written in 1913 in the Hetch Hetchy campaign. The 146 letters of John Muir are, of course, the most important segment. There are, also, letters from General and Mrs. John Bidwell, Mr. and Mrs. James Mason Hutchings, Charles D. Robinson, George G. Mackenzie, Edward T. Parsons, William E. Colby, Charles Howard Shinn, and other Californians, and John W. Noble, Gifford Pinchot, Oliver Wolcott Gibbs, Henry Fairfield Osborn, Theodore Roosevelt, George Bird Grinnell and others prominent on the national scene.
    Because of the importance of individual correspondents, the letters have been arranged alphabetically. A listing of the correspondents by year (appended) has been made to preserve as far as was practical some chronological aspect of the papers.