Guide to the Robert Underwood Johnson papers, 1889-1924

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Biological and Medical Sciences --Agriculture --Forestry History --History, California --History, Central Valley/Sierra Geographical (by Place) --California --Central Valley/Sierra

Guide to the Robert Underwood Johnson Papers, 1889-1924

Collection number: BANC MSS C-B 385

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Processed by:
The Bancroft Library staff
Encoded by:
Xiuzhi Zhou
© 1997 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

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


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.


  • 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.


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.

Key to Arrangement

Box 1

Correspondence A-Cl


Box 2

Correspondence Co-Hal

Box 3

Correspondence Ham-Mar

Box 4

Correspondence Mau-Olm

Box 5

Corresondence Oln-Rob

Box 6

Correspondence Roo-Wh

Box 7

Correspondence Wi-Z Robert Underwood Johnson and Mrs. Johnson, miscellaneous papers

Box 8

Miscellaneous papers

portfolio Portfolio:

Muir maps of Yosemite

Chronological listing of correspondents




Davis, Horace


Leighton, Rufus


Mills, William H.


Robinson, Charles D.


Shinn, Charles Howard




Armes, William Dallam


Armstrong, James B.


Bidwell, John (and Mrs. Bidwell)


Chichester, Charles F.


Deming, Lucius P.


Edmunds, J.


Grinnell, George Bird


Groff, Lewis A.


Hutchings, James Mason


Irish, John P.


Lathrop, George Parsons


Mackenzie, George G.


Newsham, Thomas J.


Noble, John Willock


Plumb, Preston P.


Robinson, Charles D.


Royce, Josiah


Scidmore, Eliza (Ruhamah)


Shinn, Charles Howard


Spinney, George F.


Stiles, W.A.


Stock, Ernest C.


Ward, Augustus H.




Barnard, A.F. (Mrs. John K.)


Brown, John Nicholas


Carter, Thomas H.


Chandler, George


Crippen Kate M.


Field, Kate


Fiske, George


Ford, William Warwick


Fox, John


Grinnell, George Bird


Hague, Arnold


Harrison, J.B.


Hittell, John Shertzer


Johnstone, E. McD.


Lyman, Hart


Noble, John Willock


Robinson, Charles D.


Royce, Josiah


Shinn, Charles Howard


Sprague, George E.


Stiles, W.A.


U.S. Dept. Of Interior (Chief Clerk E.M. Dawson) - filed under Dawson


Waite, Edwin G.


Ward, Augustus H.




Bidwell, Annie (Mrs. John)


Bishoprick, N.J.


Carter, Thomas H.


Grinnell, George Bird


Irish, John Powell


Noble, John Willock


Robinson, Charles D.


Stidger, John S.


Watd, Augustus H.


Weigel, Eugene F.




Allen F.B.


Bowers, Edward A.


Carey, John Maull


Chandler, George


Collman, O.J.


Dawson, E.M.


Fernow, Bernhard Eduard


Grant, Lewis Addison


Grinnell, George Bird


Hague, Arnold


Hawley, Joseph Roswell


Hutchings, Emila A. (Mrs. James M.)


Irish, John Powell


Jordan, David Starr


Lamont, Daniel Scott


Leupp, Francis Ellington


Lyman, Hart


Noble, John Willock


Olney, Richard


Platt, Orville Hitchcock


Robinson, Charles D.


Shinn, Milicent Washburn


Smith, Hoke


Stevens, William H.


Stiles, W.A.


Thurber, Henry T.


Ward, Augustus H.


Williams, Elliot




Miller, Charles Ransom


Sargent, Charles Sprague




American Forestry Association


California Secretary of State


Gardner, Frank Saltus


Olmsted, John Charles


Pinchot, Gifford




Bowers, Edward A.


Gibbs, Oliver Wolcott


McAllister, Elliott


Pinchot, Gifford


Sargent, Charles Sprague


Sierra Club, San Francisco


White, T. Brook




Kasson, John Adam




Allison, William Boyd


Bliss, Cornelius Newton


DeVries, Marion


Hale, Eugene


Hermann, Binger


Lacey, John Fletcher


Lodge, Henry Cabot


McAneny, George


Mackenzie, George G.


Platt, Orville Hitchcock


Quay, Matther Stanley


Reed, Thomas Brackett


Rothrock, Joseph Trimble


Sargent, Charles Sprague


Sayers, Joseph Draper


Stone, William Alexis


Zerely, J.W.




Hague, Arnold




No letters




Sargent, Charles Sprague




Barnes, Benjamin F.


Pinchot, Gifford




Perkins, George Clement


Pinchot, Gifford


Roosevelt, Theodore




Gibbs, Oliver Wolcott (in margin of Johnson to Gibbs)


Loeb, William


Millard, Bailey


Pinchot, Gifford


Roosevelt, Theodore




Pinchot, Gifford


Strother, Edgar French




Colby, William Edward


Hughes, Charles Evans


Pinchot, Gifford (and his secretary, Harry L. Hill)


Wells, Philip Patterson




Bowers, Edward A. (and his sister, Fannie A. Bowers)


Carnegie, Andrew


Chittenden, Hiram Martin


Colby, William Eduard


Hague, Arnold


Hough, Romeyn Beck


Hughes, Charles Evans


Loeb, William


McGee, William John (Introd. To Proceedings of Governors' Conference ...)


Mendenhall, Thomas Corwin


Pinchot, Gifford


Rhodes, James Ford


Roosevelt, Theodore


Sargent, Charles Sprague


Shipp, Thomas R.


Walcott, Charles Doolittle


Ward, Augustus H.


Wheeler, Benjamin Ide


Will, Thomas Elmer




American Forestry Assn. (J.A.P. Farnham)


Badè, William Frederic


Bowers, Edward A.


Brougham, H. B.


Colby, William Edward (Sierra Club)


Fife, George Buchanan


Foster, Samuel Lynde


Gleason, Herbert W.


Kolb, Charles A.


Luebkert, Otto


McFarland, John Horace


McGee, William John


Martin, Thomas Commerford


Miller, Charles Ransom


Olmsted, John Charles


Parsons, Edward T.


Shipp, Thomas Roerty


Van Dyke, Henry


Whitney, Caspar


Will, Thomas Elmer




Badè, William Frederic


Ballinger, Richard Achilles


Carpenter, Fred W.


Colby, William Edward


Dargan, Olive


Gregory, Henry E.


Laut, Agnes C.


McFarland, John Horace


Watrous, Richard Benedict


Whitman, Edmund Allen




Fisher, Walter L.


Hilles, Charles Dewey


Norton, Charles Dyer


Osborn, Henry Fairfield


Roosevelt, Theodore




Adams, Samuel


Fisher, Walter L.


Harrison, Francis Burton


Long, Percy Vincent


Meany, Edmond Stephen


Shinn, Charles Howard




Allen, Edward W.


Ammon, Sameul A.


Ashbough, Lewis E.


Aston, Taggart


Badè, William Frederic


Balmers, Edwin


Barendt, Arthur H.


Barker, Henry Ames


Barrow, David Crenshaw


Bayne, Samuel Gamble


Beal, Junius Emory


Becker, Dorothy E.


Boardman, Mabel Thorp


Bobbs, William Conrad


Borah, William Edgar


Bowers, Claude Gernade


Bowers, Edward Augustus


Bowles, Samuel


Brandegee, Gfrank Bosworth


Branson, I R.


Braucher, Howard S.


Bridgman, Herbert Lawrence


Books, John Pascal


Brown, Alice M.


Burnham, John Bird


Burton, Theodore Elijah


Carpenter, Ford Ahman


Chamberlain, Allen


Chamberlain, George Earle


Colby, William Edards


Colquitt, Neyle


Colt, Le Baron Bradford


Crocker, Mrs. Emmons


Crow, Martha Foote


Davis, Milton Fennimore


Delano, Julia


Dellenbaugh, Frederick Samuel


DeVelbiss, Frank J.


Dickinson, F. E.


Dodds, Alexander


Drapeau, Louis C.


Drinker, Henry Sturgis


Dunn, Russell L.


Dunnigan, John S.


Eckstorm, Fennie (Hardy)


Eliot, Charles William


Elliott, Henry W.


Ely, M.W. (Sec. to H.S. Graves)


Fernow, Bernhard Eduard


Ferris, Scott


Fitch, George H.


Forbes, Edgar Allen


Freeman, John Ripley


Fuller, Hubert Bruce


Gallinger, Jacob Harold


Gardner, Obadiah


Garfield, James Rudolph


George, Charles E.


Gleason, Herbert W.


Graves, Henry Solon


Gray, Henry G.


Gregory, Henry E.


Grinnell, George Bird


Gronna, Asle J.


Hadley, Hiram


Hall, Edward Hagaman


Hampson, Alden


Hanna, Paul


Harrison, Francis Burton


Hart, Albert Bushnell


Havens, Munson


Hawes, Austin Foster


Hobson, Richmond Pearson


Hollis, Henry French


Holt, Hamilton


Hooper, FranklinWilliam


Hornaday, William Temple


Houston, David Franklin


Hughes, William


Hurt, Huber William


Ingersoll, Ernest


James, Edward Janes


Jones, Herschell Vespasian


Kelley, Edgar Stillman


Kern, John Worth


Kunz, George Frederick


LaFollette, Rovert Marion, 1855-1925


Lane, Franklin Knight


Lay, Charles Downing


Laylin, Lewis Cass


Lehane, W.C.


Lenz, Rudolph


Levy, Glorence N.


Lewis, James Hamilton


Kitchfield, Grace Denio


Lodge, Henry Cabot


Loughran, Patrick H.


Lowell, Abbott Lawrence


Lowes, John Livingston


Lyman, William Denison


Lyon, Mrs. Frank D.


McAdoo, William Gibbs


McDonald, Henry M.


Macfarland, Henry Floyd


McFarland, John Horace


McGowan, Pattillo H.


McLean, George Payne


Mann, James Robert


Manning, Warren Henry


Marshall, Eleanor Eltinge


Martin, Frederick Roy


Martin, Thomas Commerford


Martine, James Edgar


Mezes, Sidney Edward


Miller, Clement H.


Mitchell, John Murray


Mondell, Frank Wheeler


Moore, John Bassett


Morgenthau, Henry


Myers, Henry Lee


Nelson, H.W.


Nelson, William Rockhill


Nichols, Marian C.


Noble, Frederic Perry


Noel, Edmund Favor


O'Gorman, James Aloysius


Olmsted, Frederick Law, 1870-


Osborn, Henry Fairfield


Osborne, Grover Pease


Owen, Rovert Latham


Page, Carroll Smalley


Parsons, Edward T.


Parsons, Herbert


Parsons, Samuel


Pennybacker, Anna J. (Hardwicke)


Pinchot, Gifford


Poindexter, Miles


Quarles, E.A.


Ranous, Dora Knowlton (Thompson)


Redfield, William C.


Rhodes, James Ford


Ridsdale, Percival Shelden


Royce, Josiah


Ruckstuhl, F.W.


Sargent, Charles Sprague


Schell, Edwin Allison


Schuyler, Georgina


Schwarz, George Frederick


Scidmore, Eliza (Ruhamah)


Sedgwick, Henry Dwight


Semple, Helen Merrick


Sherman, Lawrence Y.


Shorter, H.J.


Slattery, Harry A.


Sloane, William Milligan


Smith, Byron Laflin


Smith, Geddes


Smith, Henry Louis


Smith, Hoke


Smoot, Reed


Stafford, John Richard


Steenerson, Halvor


Stiger, William D.


Stone, Melville Elijah


Sullivan, Eugene J.


Swain, George Fillmore


Sweet, Mary Caroline


Taft, William Howard


Towner, Horace Mann


Tumulty, Joseph Patrick


Underwood, Oscar Wilder


VanWagoner, J. D.


Villard, Oswald Garrison


Wadsworth, William Austin


Wadsworth, H. H.


Washington, William DeHertburn


Watrous, Richard Benedict


Webb, Charles A.


Weeks, John Wingate


Wells, Amos Russel


Whitman, Edmund Allen


Whitney, Caspar


Wilson, Woodrow


Wyvell, Manton M.




Anderson, E.H.


Badè, William Frederic


Bridgman, Herbert Lawrence


Colby, William Edward


Conrad, W. J. (On Johnson's letter)


Davis, Milton Fennimore


Frothingham, E. H.


Hall, Edward Hagaman


Olmsted, Frederick Law, 1870-


Parsons, Edward T.


Parsons, Herbert


Smith, Emory E.




No letters




Blake, Jacob M.




No letters




Rhodes, James Ford




No letters




Badè, William Frederic


Grinnell, George Bird




Butler, Ovid M.


Drury, Newton Bishop


Fenton, Benjamin W.


Maudlin, Cecil Vearl


Sargent, Charles Sprague


Shinn, Charles Howard




Badè, William Frederic


Butler, Ovid M.


Peyton, Jeannie S.