Cover image for Kindred & related spirits : the letters of John Muir and Jeanne C. Carr
Kindred & related spirits : the letters of John Muir and Jeanne C. Carr
Muir, John, 1838-1914.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Salt Lake City : University of Utah Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xviii, 394 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QH31.M9 A4 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Muir's lifetime friendship with Carr nurtured and sustained him from his obscure beginnings as an amateur botanist and deepened as he grew into an important and influential conservationist and natural historian.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

An extraordinary man, Muir led an extraordinary life, and as Branch and Gisel, the eloquent and expert editors of these two groundbreaking volumes, reveal, there's much yet to be learned about his adventures and writings. Branch, the first Muir scholar to recognize the significance of Muir's last journey, an astounding 40,000-mile voyage to South America and Africa undertaken in 1911-12 when he was 73, has resurrected Muir's notes and journals from that expedition, incredibly vivid and poetic documents that have "languished" unread for 90 years. Branch dubs Muir a "naturalist with global concerns," and, indeed, the brilliant botanist and environmentalist's indelible descriptions of sea, river, sky, and forest reveal the great depth of his incisive and joyous response to life on Earth. Branch interweaves journal entries with the letters Muir sent to his daughters and friends, and each resurrected sentence is a window into Muir's world-embracing and world-altering mind. Muir was fortunate in his choice of friends. He was 22 when he met 35-year-old Jeanne Carr, the wife of a professor, at the Wisconsin State Fair. They became devoted correspondents, and Carr, mentor and "spiritual mother," became his anchor and confidante as she struggled to fit her botanical pursuits into a busy family and social life. Soul mates, both wrote lengthy letters pearled with thoughts of God and the sacredness of nature. Muir confessed that he felt unequal to the task of translating his transcendent experiences into language, but Carr never failed to encourage him, and readers owe her much gratitude for keeping Muir's pen in motion. Muir's letters to Carr have been available, but this is the first time her compelling correspondence has been published, and the combination, thanks to Gisel's scholarship, creates one of the great duets in the annals of nature writing. Donna Seaman

Choice Review

From 1860, amateur botanist Jeanne Caroline Smith Carr (1825-1903), wife of a University of Wisconsin professor, mentored pioneering environmentalist John Muir in his studies and interests. Over a 30-year span of correspondence beginning in 1865, she strongly supported Muir during his many years of botanizing and nature study in California and elsewhere. She introduced him to his future wife and encouraged him to publish his writings. Muir's side of their correspondence was published as Letters to a Friend, Written to Mrs. Ezra S. Carr, 1866-1879 in 1915, but until now, Carr's letters have not been available. Editor Gisel includes the entire exchange of letters that survive, with selected others from friends and associates of Muir and Carr that help tell the story. Dismissed by the University of Wisconsin, Professor Carr taught for five stormy years at the University of California, before his election as state superintendent of public instruction. Jeanne Carr, the mother of four sons, was appointed her husband's deputy. She was also an energetic agricultural reformer, horticulturist, and writer. A glossary of botanical terms, chronology of events, lists of printed and missing letters, bibliography of Carr's manuscripts and publications, notes, and references round out this most useful work. General readers; undergraduates through faculty. K. B. Sterling formerly, Pace University

Table of Contents

Ralph Waldo EmersonRonald H. Limbaugh
Song of Naturep. ix
Forewordp. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Introductionp. 1
Part 1 One Baptized of Nature and the Spirit (1865-1868)p. 19
Part 2 Among God's Elect in California and Parables of Wilderness (1868-1869)p. 63
Part 3 Wishing You Were Here (1870)p. 97
Part 4 Writing the Truth About Yosemite (1871-1872)p. 125
Part 5 Up into Mountain Light, Down into Town Dark (1872)p. 157
Illustrationsp. 202
Part 6 The House of God and The Gate of Heaven (1873)p. 203
Part 7 Inaccessible as if in a Crowd: Mountains and Agricultural Reform (1874-1875)p. 231
Part 8 In Remembrance of Yosemite: Writing a Long Old-Time Letter (1876-1903)p. 263
Epiloguep. 311
Notesp. 313
Glossary of Botanicals in Lettersp. 343
Bibliography of Botanical Sourcesp. 357
Articles and Manuscripts by Jeanne C. Carrp. 358
Selected Readings for Further Studyp. 361
Chronology of Eventsp. 365
List of Lettersp. 371
List of Missing Lettersp. 381
Indexp. 387
About the Editorp. 395