Pacific Library Gains Muir Collection

By Diana Medina News Editor As campus began to bloom and pollen began to fly, the university celebrated the addition of another resource to remind us of nature’s wonders: the John Muir collection, a seroes of documents that have immortalized the California of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The university has enjoyed a long-lasting partnership with Muir’s descendants, who allowed the library’s Holt-Atherton Special Collections to borrow some of Muir’s papers beginning in the 1970s. Pacific has honoured that contribution with the institution of its John Muir center in 1989, as well as by teaching all incoming freshmen about Muir and offering whole classes devoted to his works. “We feel the deepest privilege to be entrusted by the Muir family with a loan of the papers and now to be entrusted by the Muir family with a gift of the collection.” said President Pamela Eibeck. “Into the next 50 years and into perpetuity, Pacific will continue to lift up John Muir’s legacy and partnership with the family and with so many in our society that believe deeply that his message of conserving and loving our natural resources—we will partner to keep that message alive.” Saturday the thirteenth saw the gift of these papers being celebrated with a full afternoon’s worth of events that honoured Muir’s legacy while disussing the impact the collection would have on Pacific’s student body and how to carry out the goals Muir set forth over a hundred years ago. President Eibeck described the purpose of the celebration as being arranged “to ensure that John Muir’s values continue to be on the forefront of our social conscience and continues to shape our nation’s actions.” Strangely, this meant constant promotion for congressman Jerry McNerney, an environmentalist who is not known to have sponsored the event. The celebration began in the Janet Leigh theatre with a screening of a film about Muir’s life, before moving on to an open fair which featured students’ environmental projects, conservation societies from all around the community, and virtual reality demonstrations courtesy of the library itself. Copies of the Muir papers were also on display for guests to examine. The celebration concluded with speeches given by the President, regents, a student specializing in Muir’s works, a representative from the Sierra club, and an actor who provided a live re-enaction of Muir. These speeches followed one or two themes. One, which focused on the learning advantages afforded by the university having access to the papers, can be summarized by Regent Berolzheimer’s statement “Our mission is to preserve John Muir’s works forever. The Muir papers are and continue to be an institutional priority at Pacific.” Others, such as the Sierra Club, an organization that seeks to expose youn people to nature and elect politicians that they believe will help protect the environment, talked about the importance of the messages Muir hoped to convey through all his writing, especially that of inspiring people with awe of nature. It was suggested that this is a goal that Muir and Pacific have always had in common, and will continue to strive to achieve.