1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Muir, John

MUIR, JOHN (1838-1914), American naturalist and writer, was born at Dunbar, Scotland, April 21 1838. When he was 11 years old his father moved to America and settled as a pioneer farmer in Wisconsin. Here the boy grew up taking an active part in clearing his father's land. When 22 years old he entered the university of Wisconsin, where he supported himself by teaching and working on farms during vacation. After finishing his course he began his wanderings on foot which carried him through many states. Later he crossed to Cuba, and thence to Panama and up the Pacific coast to California. In 1868 he first entered the Yosemite Valley which for many years after formed the base of his continued expeditions. In 1876 he joined the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey and three years later made his first visit to Alaska where he discovered the glacier that now bears his name. He was specially interested in glaciation and in the Sierra discovered numerous residual glaciers. In 1881 he took part in the expedition in search of the “Jeanette” and the De Long party in the Arctic region. He was an early advocate of national parks, and it was largely due to his efforts that the Yosemite Park was set aside in 1890. In 1903 he set out on a tour covering the Caucasus, Siberia, Manchuria, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand; in 1911 he went to S. America to explore the Amazon; and in 1912 he visited Africa. He died at Los Angeles, Cal., Dec. 24 1914.

He published The Mountains of California (1894); Our National Parks (1901); Stickeen (1909, the story of a dog); My First Summer in the Sierra (1911); The Yosemite (1912) and The Story of My Boyhood and Youth (1913). In 1888 he edited Picturesque California. The following appeared posthumously: Unpublished Prose and Letters (1915); Travels in Alaska (1915); Letters to a Friend (1915); A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf (1916); The Cruise of the Corwin (1917) and Steep Trails (1918).

See also The Writings of John Muir (1916), 6 vols., edited by William Frederic Bade.