The magic of John Muir lives today in our public parklands and wilderness areas, the orchards and vineyards of Contra Costa County, sunsets atop Mt. Wanda, and in writings and teachings that spread the word about nature and our place in it.

The William and Maymie Kimes Collection

William (Bill) Kimes, with the assistance of his wife Maymie, began collecting books, magazines articles, and letters by Muir since the 1950s.  Their collection includes a signed copy of all eight books published in Muir’s lifetime.  They also collected books, articles, and other publications about Muir along with extensive memorabilia.  “John Muir, A Reading Bibliography,” published in 1977 and 1986 by the Kimes was the culmination of these efforts.  (The John Muir papers at the University of the Pacific is organized and numbered in correspondence with the Bibliography.) 

The William and Maymie Kimes Collection forms a unique resource of Muir’s literary efforts.  In the course of the research, the Kimes contacted libraries, private collectors, and Muir descendants.  They interviewed many who had known Muir, and/or the Hanna (descendants of Wanda Muir) and the Funk (descendants of Helen Muir) families.  Bill Kimes and Helen Muir corresponded extensively.

The John Muir Memorial Association (now known as the John Muir Association) purchased the Kimes collection in two lots in 1999 and 2000. With nearly 2,000 items, the William and Maymie Kimes Collection is ideal for research and educational use.

A home is needed for the books, magazine articles, newspaper clippings, posters, letters, and photographs. Some items are inscribed by Muir. The present Visitor Center at the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, California has limited space for display, study, interpretation and administration.
Funds are needed to help house the William and Maymie Kimes Collection, and make it available for researchers of all ages.
The collection includes:

  • 112 books by John Muir
  • 353 books by other authors
  • 587 magazines and articles
  • 54 clippings and flyers
  • 17 postcards
  • Numerous photographs
  • 40 posters
  • 79 pamphlets & booklets
  • 422 original and copies of letters
  • Miniature books
  • 13 anthologies
  • 1 outline of Muir's feet
  • 40 books from Muir's library
  • 237 Sierra Cub publications
  • 11 Maps
  • Textbooks

We have created an illustrated presentation explaining these many features, and the needs for an adequate Education Center to house the collection and make it accessible.

View some of the collection’s books, letters and inscriptions by Muir:
Download Power Point Presentation by Steve Pauly (5.42 MB)

Contact us if you would like to have a presentation made to your group.




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