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 Kimes 1907 - 1998
Maymie Kimes 1909 - 2002

William (Bill) Maymie Kimes began collecting material associated with John Muir in the 1950s. They spent more than 50 years tracking down books, magazines articles, photographs, letters by Muir and many other items. The Kimes’ passion for Muir resulted in a lifetime of research and included traveling in Muir’s footsteps.

As part of their research, the Kimes contacted libraries and private collectors, and searched antique stores. They interviewed many who had known Muir, including the Muir descendants. Bill Kimes and Helen Muir Funk (John Muir’s youngest daughter) corresponded extensively.

The William and Maymie Kimes Collection is a unique resource for Muir scholars and offers insight into Muir’s literary and private life. In addition, the Kimes authored John Muir: A Reading Bibliography, an impressive compilation identifying and describing all of John Muir's writings—beginning with his first article in a Boston newspaper in 1866. The Bibliography, published in 1977 and 1986 by the Kimes themselves, was used to catalog the John Muir Papers at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.

The William and Maymie Kimes Collection consists of nearly 2,000 items that provide historic and archival material for research, educational and interpretive use. Among the first editions of Muir’s books are My First Summer in the Sierra and The Yosemite.

The John Muir Association purchased the Kimes Collection in two lots in 1999 and 2000. With the goal of protecting these priceless items and providing the public with opportunities to view and enjoy them, the John Muir Association donated the Collection in two lots (beginning in 2012) to the National Park Service at the John Muir National Historic Site.

Among the items are books, magazine articles, newspaper clippings, posters, letters, and photographs. Some are inscribed by Muir. Selected items from the selection are periodically displayed in the home at the John Muir National Historic Site. 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 (12.2 MB)

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




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