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Celebrating Earth Day with a John Muir First Edition

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John Muir (1838-1914) was a naturalist, conservationist, and writer whose lasting legacy includes the Sierra Club (which he founded) as well as many national parks and forests that were established in part due to his advocacy. His first book, The Mountains of California, is pictured here as a first edition. Muir spent the latter part of his life in California, and was dedicated to preserving its wilderness, which he loved.

Muir CoverIn the below image, an illustration from this book shows a windstorm in the California forests, based on a sketch by Muir. Muir’s description of a windstorm demonstrates his eloquent writing:

…the winds go to every tree, fingering every leaf and branch and furrowed hole; not one is forgotten; the Mountain Pine towering with outstretched arms on the rugged buttresses of the icy peaks, the lowliest and most retiring tenant of the dells; they seek and find them all, caressing them tenderly, bending them in lusty exercise, stimulating their growth, plucking off a limb as required, or removing an entire tree or grove, now whispering and cooing through the branches like a sleepy child, now roaring like the ocean; the winds blessing the forests, the forests the winds, with ineffable beauty and harmony as the sure result (244).

Muir illustrationThis book can be found in the Special Collections and University Archives in Payson Library. Please contact Melissa Nykanen at melissa.nykanen@pepperdine.edu or at (310) 506-4434 for more information.

Reference:
Muir, John. The Mountains of California. New York: Century Co, 1894.

 

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