Finding aid of the Muiriana Collection

Processed by Melani Wilkie
Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
University of the Pacific Library
3601 Pacific Ave.
Stockton, CA 95211
Phone: (209) 946-2404
Fax: (209) 946-2942
© 2008
University of the Pacific. All rights reserved.

Finding aid of the Muiriana Collection

Collection number: MSS 307

Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections

University of the Pacific Library

Stockton, California
Processed by:
Processed by Melani Wilkie
Date Completed:
Encoded by:
Michael Wurtz
© 2008 University of the Pacific. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Muiriana collection
Dates: 1864-2004
Collection number: MSS 307
Creator: Muir, John, 1838-1914
Collection Size: 1 foot
Repository: University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Dept. of Special Collections
Stockton, California 95211
Abstract: This collection contains original personal correspondence, notes and photographs of John Muir and materials related to Muir family genealogy from various identified and unidentified donors.
Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


Collection open for research.

Publication Rights

Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections 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 researcher.

Preferred Citation

Muiriana collection. MSS 307. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library.

Biography / Administrative History

Naturalist, author, conservationist. Considered a precursor of environmentalist movement. Through his numerous books and articles, which emphasize importance of wilderness experiences to cultivation of spiritual values and maintenance of high-quality civilization, Muir brought appreciation of natural environment to national consciousness. Instrumental in creation of National Park system, Muir was directly involved in creation of Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon, and Mt. Rainier parks. He later founded Sierra Club (1892).

Scope and Content of Collection

This collection was created by Holt-Atherton Special Collections with Muir-related items that have been acquired from various sources. It contains original personal correspondence, notes and photographs of John Muir and materials related to Muir family genealogy, and other documents related to Muir. The genealogy materials include information on the burial place of John Muir’s father, Daniel Muir, as well as a family history on Daniel’s sister, Mary (Muir) Blackley. The photographs series contains photographs in which John Muir appears and photographs that do not have John Muir in them, but are in some way associated with him.


Collection is arranged into four series: I. John Muir Letters; II. Muir Family Genealogy; III. Photographs; IV. Other Material.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Muir family
Strentzel family
Sierra Club
Environmentalism - West (U.S.)

Container List


Series I: John Muir Correspondence, Notes, and Post-mortem Materials, 1864-1915


I.1.1: John Muir to “Dear friend Emily [Pelton],” handwritten letter regarding personal acquaintances, brief mentions of examining botanical specimens and Muir’s intention to study medicine. Fountain Lake, WI. February 27, 1864.


I.1.2: John Muir to unknown, handwritten letter of condolence. Oakland, CA. January 13, 1874.


I.1.3: John Muir to Clara Barrus, typed letter and mailing envelope. Letter mentions personal acquaintances and relates a short humorous “geological story” about Independence Lake, which Ms. Barrus had asked about. Martinez, CA. April 14, 1910.


I.1.4: Two letters from John Muir to Francis George. Letters discuss the purchase of land. April 17,1906 and November 15, 1906.


I.1.5: World Trip (1903-1904) herbarium plant lists and notes


I.1.6: Newspaper clippings.


“Muir’s Estate Quarter Million” January 19, 1915


“Reminiscences of John Muir are Told” 1914


“Muir Estate Papers Have Disappeared” December 9, 1963


I.1.7: Strentzel letters. Louisiana Strentzel to “Brother Jack” A.J. Erwin from Alhambra December 14, 1882, and John Strentzel to “Brother” December 4, 1866. Both letters discuss life, their daughter Louie, etc. Photocopy


I.1.8: John Muir inscription/letter in book probably to “Mrs. C. Stevens” July 10, 1902. Photocopy


I.1.9: John Muir to Mrs. Swett (from Palm Springs, Cal) June 13, 1905. Photocopy


I.1.10: Two letters from John Muir to Mrs. John Bidwell, c. summer 1900. Photocopy


I.1.11: Various lists of books from John Muir's personal library.


I.1.12: John Muir to Duncan Sterling in Meaford, Canada, January 30, 1870. Original owned by Scott Cameron 1998


I.1.13: Correspondence between John Muir and John Daniel Runkle, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1871-1872. Includes a letter from Runkle to his wife, and two more to Runkle from S. Kneeland and Whitland Reid. All concerning Runkle’s visit to Yosemite in 1872. Items copied from Runkle Papers at MIT in 1989. May not be reproduced without permission of MIT’s Institute Archives.


I.1.14: 11 Correspondence from John Muir to Mary Francis Kellogg, 1912-1914.


I.1.15: 18 Correspondence between John Muir and Newton Family members (Ambrose, William, and Mary Elizabeth Newton) 1863-64 and 1906-1913, and 5 correspondence not with Muir. Including, Sherry Hanna, Mrs. Van Dyke, Mr. Sell, William Bade, Elizabeth [Bade?] 1916-1955. Obituary for Emily Pelton 1925, Mary Newton Diary that includes a John Muir drawing of a chair with a mechanical device. Donated by Elizabeth Newton Williams 2013


I.1.16: 53 checks and bank transactions with John Muir, 1893-1910 including: WS Tinning, Edward Browen, Wanda Muir, Helen Muir, George Smith, Thomas Hanna, Goldberg Bowen & Company, F Dohrmann, Baer Brothers, City of Paris, EE Webster, Butler College, ME Venegas, AB Coleman, Henry Reid, Henry Raap, Martinez Lumber Company, WC Patterson, JT Breneman, and F Rathan. Donated by James and Carol Hanna 2018


Series II: Muir Family Genealogy


II.1.1: Obituaries. John Muir, Daniel Muir, Wanda Muir Hanna, David Gilrye Muir, Jean Hanna Clark, Ross Hanna


II.1.2: Mary (Muir) Blackley (circa 1793-1866) and her American descendants. Compiled by Roberta M. McDow, 2003. Comprehensive 54-page booklet on the genealogy of the only known sibling of Daniel Muir, John Muir’s father.


II.1.3: Elmwood Cemetery. Correspondence between Janene Ford (UOP Archives Coordinator) and Richard Stewart (Elmwood Cemetery historian) regarding the burial place of Daniel Muir and two of his infant grandchildren. Includes photos of headstone purchased by Muir-Hanna Trust. 2003-2004.


II.1.4: Louisiana Strentzel Diary 1850/51, 1868, 1871/72, 1877/79. Diary entries by John Muir’s mother-in-law from time that Strentzel’s settled along the Merced River, through the families move to the Alhambra Valley (later John Muir’s Home in Martinez) in 1853 until engagement of their daughter Louie Strentzel to John Muir. Diary entries consist mostly of weather and the day-to-day life of a farming family in California. Also includes note on provenance of diary by James Gaines.


II.1.5: Strentzel, John T. Autobiography. Notes on early life in Europe and experiences in Texas; overland journey to California, 1849; earliest experiences in California including various ventures in Stanislaus Co.; establishment of his home near Martinez. C.1888 Copy of transcript; original at Bancroft Library. [See Mss 48 John Muir Papers, Series Vc: Family Papers]


II.1.6: Genealogy Charts & Trees [incl. Muir Family Tree. Compiled by James E. Gaines, July 2002].


Series III: Photography


III.1.1: Photographs in which John Muir appears.


III.1.2: Muir related photographs (Alhambra Valley)


III.1.3: Newton Family photos including John Muir. Praire du Chien and Winneshiek: A brief illustrated history… by Constance M. Evans and Ona B. Earll, 1928


Series IV: Other Material


IV.1.1: “Sundown Song” Henry Parker music set to John Muir’s words


IV.1.2: “What I Know about John Muir” by Peter L. Trout, 1915. Original owned by Scott Cameron 2008


IV.1.3: Books owned by John Muir. Various lists of books that were owned by Muir that can be found in different repositories. Includes microfilm copy of selected Muir annotated books at the Huntington Library.


IV.1.4: John Muir stamps "first day of issue," April 29, 1964


IV.1.5: Eight Alaskan and African carvings


IV.1.6: Photographs of Daggett, California (circa 1995) by Peter Wild. Includes annotations relating the photographs to Muir's connection with Daggett.


IV.1.7: Screenplay: Dominion by Maryedith Burrell and Alan Duncan Ross (1993)


IV.1.8: Three Women Who Influenced the Life of John Muir by Linnie Marsh Wolfe; radio talk on KGO, April 17, 1938


IV.1.9: The Four Johns of Contra Costa ; typescript, 7 pages, n.d.


IV.1.10: Focusing on Photography: An Analysis of John Muir’s Photography Collection ; 40 page report by Amanda Zimmerman, COP student


IV.1.11: Muir’s Mountain Travels in Yosemite [1868-1875] by Toshiaki Yoshino, 2005. Approx. 100 pages. Contains detailed notes on places that Muir visited throughout Yosemite and the Sierra along with references, maps, and photographs.


IV.1.12: Microfilm copy of Jeanne C. Smith Carr Scrapbooks and other John Muir related material located at the Huntington Library. For reference use only. Credit the Huntington Library.