Chance Encounters: John Muir in Florida

Detail from a lithographed advertisement for Alaskan travel, preserved in John Muir’s the Mountains of California.

In October of 1867, a weary and likely malarial John Muir, on a journey which he expected would take him to Cuba and to the Amazon, stumbled back into the town of Cedar Key and collapsed in a heap. He left promising to return to the family who nursed him for months, and though it took nearly thirty years Muir did come back to Florida.

In this months’ blog post, a copy of John Muir’s The Mountains of California recently donated to the Rare Book Collection sheds light on decades of memories around that encounter, in the form of a small archive of materials gathered by the family who helped him. The collection, which includes a letter from Muir to the family, follows the creation of natural parks and the conservation movement from a very local perspective.