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Biographies


Anthologies Film and Video
Audio Historical and Literary Analyses
Biographies Internet Resources
Book Chapters Featuring John Muir The John Muir Library Series from Sierra Club Books
Bookmarks Live Presentations and Enactments
Books by John Muir Music
Children's Books Periodicals and Notable Recent Articles from Periodicals
For Educators and Youth Group Leaders Photography and Gift Books
Fiction Research Tools


Note: Items shown in boldface are believed to be available for purchase at the time this bibliography was last revised. No attempt has been made to include entries from encyclopedias or similar reference works.


Biographies     [up to table of contents]

Badè, William Frederic The Life and Letters of John Muir (Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1924) Reprinted in Gifford, Terry, (Editor) John Muir: His Life and Letters and Other Writings. (Seattle: Mountaineers Books, and London: Baton Wicks, 1996).
This is the first published biography of John Muir, written by his literary executor, with extensive extracts from Muir's unfinished autobiography and extensive excerpts of Muir's letters. This book is now accessible to a new generation of readers in Terry Gifford's new collection, John Muir: His Life and Letters and Other Writings (see full annotation under Anthologies) .

Clarke, James Mitchell, The Life and Adventures of John Muir (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books 1980).
This modern, popularly-written biography describes Muir's life as a Boy, Wanderer, Geologist, Ecologist, Explorer, Husbandman, and Activist. Relies heavily on Muir's own accounts. Appendix A, "On Reading John Muir", gives the author's advice to read Muir in small doses, owing to Muir's writing in the idiom of his times - Victorian. Appendix B, "On Reading About John Muir", gives the author's advice on both biographical books and books on geography, conservation history, geology, botany, etc. Highly recommended.

Ehrlich, Gretel, John Muir: Nature's Visionary (Washington D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2000) Illustrated, Index, 240 pp.
This is the second book National Geographic has published about John Muir, the other being the 1976 publication by Tom Melham (see annotation below). In this sumptuous edition, Gretel Ehrlich tells the story of Muir's life not as straight biography, but by showing him as an instrument of nature, as not a passive observer of the mountains but as an Emersonian eye - whole, transparent, curious, and as one whose verbal nimbleness brings forth the divine beauty of nature. Muir quotes accompany stunning modern images of the vistas Muir loved, and historical photos. An Epilogue highlights some of Muir's spiritual descendants, people like David Brower, Carla Cloer, Scott Hoffman Black, and John Olmsted who have fought to preserve wild places just as Muir did. Highly recommended. A book jacket summary of this book is available.

Emmanuels, George, John Muir, Inventor (Fresno: Panorama West Books, 1984). Illustrated, 88 pp.
This little book fills a previously un-met need in telling the story of John Muir's outstanding mechanical talent. Here's a fascinating look at Muir's marvelous inventions: a supersensitive thermometer, clocks, an automatic study desk, the famous "early rising machine", and the self-setting sawmill. Important for the insight it gives on the factory accident which gave the world one of its most celebrated conservationists.

Jones, Holway R., John Muir and the Sierra Club: The Battle for Yosemite (San Francisco: Sierra Club 1965). Photos.
This book chronicles the early battles of the Sierra Club, led by their President, John Muir, to save Yosemite and Hetch Hetchy Valley from despoilers. A book jacket summary of this book is available.

Melham, Tom, and Grehan, Farrell, John Muir's Wild America (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society 1976).
Splendid National Geographic color photography of the paths Muir followed from Scotland, Wisconsin, Canada, Appalachians, Florida, California, Washington, and Alaska. A beautiful book suitable for all ages. Highly recommended.

John Muir: Magnificent Tramp by Rod Miller Miller, Rod, John Muir : Magnificent Tramp (American Heroes) (New York: Forge Books, 2005) hardcover or paperback, 208 pp.
This new book provides an accessible portrait of John Muir in a series of short chapters. Rather than a pure chronological rendering, the book is organized by themes, juxtaposing Muir's experiences and ideas from different time periods to focus on a common topic. Easy to read, almost conversational in style; suitable for teens and adults.


Noriyushi, Kato, Mori no seija: Shezenhogo no chichi John Muir [A Saint in the Forest: the Father of Nature Protection - John Muir] (Tokyo: Yama-to-keikohusha, 1995) 279 pp. ¥1600
A modern introduction to John Muir, in Japanese, for the Japanese audience.

Sargent, Shirley, John Muir in Yosemite (Yosemite: Flying Spur Press 1971).
Outstanding booklet, filled with historic photographs, detailing the significant role of John Muir in exploring, describing, and studying the glacial origin of Yosemite, and efforts leading to its protection. Highly recommended.

Wilkins, Thurman, John Muir: Apostle of Nature (Norman, Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1995). Volume 8 in the Oklahoma Western Biographies. Black and white photos; Bibligraphic Notes; Index. 302 pp.
A very readable new biography of John Muir. Takes a straight forward chronological approach. Although published by an University press, this is not an academic, footnoted tome, but an entertaining and easy-to-read biography. Recommended introduction to Muir's life and importance. A press release about this book is available.

Wolfe, Linnie Marsh, Son of the Wilderness: The Life of John Muir (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press 1978). (Originally published: 1945 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc).
This Pulitzer Prize winning original biography remains perhaps the most readable, thorough, and enjoyable book on the life of John Muir. Highly recommended. A book jacket summary of this book is available.

Worster, Donald, A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008) $34.95, 535 pages, illustrated with 30 halftones & 5 maps, 6-1/8 x 9-1/4, ISBN: 978-0-19-516682-8)
The publisher claims this is "the most comprehensive biography of America’sgreatest conservationist ever written."
Written by America's foremost environmental historian, this conclusion willbe hard to argue with. It is the first modern biography to fully use Muir'sprivate correspondence.
A pressrelease about this book is available.
A book jacket summaryof this book is available.
Book reviews of this book are available.
WhenWriting About John Muir, I Had to See What He Saw By Donald Worster (Off-site link)

Young, S. Hall, Alaska Days with John Muir (Ayer Co. Pubs. Originally Published 1915, new edition 1981). Reprinted in Gifford, Terry, (Editor) John Muir: His Life and Letters and Other Writings. (Seattle: Mountaineers Books, and London: Baton Wicks, 1996).
A first-hand account of Muir's discovery of Glacier Bay and other places in Alaska with the author. Muir never wrote about his heroic rescue of Young on Mt. Glenora in Alaska, but here Young tells it all! A book jacket summary of this book is available.
Complete book:
Alaska Days with John Muir by S. Hall Young (1915) - available in various digital formats from archive.org

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