Bill Wadsworth writes:
“My cousin Neil Lark, a retired UOP professor in Stockton, forwarded me your column about transcribing a page of Muir’s journal. It describes perfectly the fun of doing this. I’ve transcribed all of journal 58 which was the first of three for his trip with many famous scientists, naturalists, and others on the Harriman Alaska Expedition in 1899.
“I’m just completing the transcription of third one (the second was already transcribed by William Bade, Muir’s literary executor). In the third journal of the trip there are some really fun details about the celebrations aboard ship at the end of the voyage and a couple of comical poems he wrote about his friend John Burroughs, a naturalist from New York, who was also on the trip.
My wife Ginger and I recently visited Stockton to spend the day with Neil and his wife Liz and we were treated to a tour of the archives with Mike Wurtz. I got to hold “my” journal…a real thrill. We topped off the day with wine tasting in Lodi.
I’m so glad Neil forwarded your column to me as you put words to the experience I’ve had living in Muir’s journal world. As you noted, the detective work involved as you’re trying to decipher a word is challenging but pretty exhilarating. I’ve learned a lot in the process about botany and it certainly gives me a closer perspective of Muir’s personality.”