STOCKTON — John Muir spurred an environmental movement that continues to gain steam a century after his death. An estimated 150 scholars and fans will gather to examine that legacy on Saturday, March 22, at a conference at University of the Pacific, home to the world’s largest archive of Muir writings, sketches and photographs.
The conference, “What has been saved; what has been lost: John Muir’s Legacy, 1914-2014,” is open to the public.
A connection to the Scottish-born naturalist, one of the most important figures in California history, runs deep at University of the Pacific – blood and books deep.
Five Muir descendants and three of their spouses have attended Pacific, forging a relationship through which most of all known Muir-produced materials have made their way to the Holt-Atherton Special Collection in the Pacific Library.
The Muir-Hanna Trust, formed by Muir’s descendants, selected Pacific as a repository for the materials in 1970. The John Muir Papers at Pacific include about 7,000 letters to and from Muir and his family, 78 journals, 27 notebooks, more than 300 drawings, more than 2,000 photographs, hundreds of his manuscripts, and about 600 books by authors that were in his personal library. Muir’s desk and two of his bookshelves are also part of the collection, among several other items.
The public portion of this year’s conference, “What has been saved; what has been lost: John Muir’s Legacy, 1914-2014,” will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Saturday, March 22, at Grace Covell Hall. A reception will follow.
The symposium will include presentations from Muir scholars from around the world, including Terry Gifford, Graham White, Ronald Eber, Doug Scott and Stephen Holmes. Award-winning British author Andrea Wulf, who is working on a biography of Prussian geographer, naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt, will be the keynote speaker.
Cost for the symposium is $40 for the general public and $30 for students at the door. The cost includes a light breakfast, buffet lunch of Scottish food, and reception afterward.
University of the Pacific’s John Muir Papers collection is accessible online by going to http://go.pacific.edu/specialcollections and clicking on “John Muir Papers.” Once there, click on “Transcriptions” in the left column to learn about volunteering to help transcribe Muir’s papers.
To learn more about John Muir, visit the university’s John Muir Center website at http://go.pacific.edu/johnmuir. The Center promotes the study of Muir and environmentalism at University of the Pacific and beyond.