First EditionMuir, John. Collection of 2 first edition books. Our National Parks and The Mountains of California. Our National Parks: First edition. Boston; New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1901. Green covers with gilt titles and tree illustration on the front cover. 382 pages. Our National Parks is the only Muir publication that brings to life Muir’s introduction to and subsequent in-person encounters with eminent American Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson. Comes with Mountains of California: First edition. The Century Company, 1894. Original binding with gilt lettering and illustration on front cover. Muir’s first published work and the volume detailing the National Parks, his greatest legacy.
Our National Parks was published to serve as a comprehensive and descriptive survey of the United States' park system, whose current incarnation would never have existed without Muir’s careful surveys. Its transcendentalist and romantic themes sing through in Muir’s poetic, spiritual characterizations of his travels. It is no wonder that, despite their age difference, the meeting of 33-year-old Muir and then-68-year-old Emerson found each man in the presence of his spiritual brother. Within National Parks, as Muir recounts his interactions with Emerson, his prose reflects an effusive admiration for the writer, likening him to the surrounding natural phenomena. To Muir, Emerson was a “serene, majestic, sequoia-like soul” [pg. 131], while Emerson, upon returning from a Yosemite trip with Muir, effused that he was “more wonderful than Thoreau.” This copy of Our National Parks is truly in very good condition with green boards and gilt remaining very bright. Very clean internally. The Mountains of California, as usual, has moderate scuffing and staining to the outside and scattered foxing internally. These two books represent Muir’s prize work, two American masterpieces that set in earnest the 20th century’s love of nature.