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FoJMB Newsletter 2008 12

FoJMB Newsletter 2008 12

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Friends of John Muir's Birthplace Newsletter No. 8, December 2008
Friends of John Muir's Birthplace Newsletter No. 8, December 2008

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Published by: fojmb on Apr 13, 2011
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Dunbar’s John Muir Association
Friends of John Muir’sBirthplace
Newsletter No. 8, December 2008
Dear friends,Welcome to the latest issue of the Friends newsletter. Much hashappened since our last issue including some very interesting talks,details of which are within. The AGM was held in October. I gave aresume of the year’s activities, Will presented the accounts and your council was re-elected, there being no other nominations. The meetingconcluded with David Anderson’s most interesting story of the historyof the building which we know as The John Muir Birthplace from thetime it was built to the present day. At the AGM, I had the honour of presenting David with a life membership of Friends as a thank you for re-writing ‘John Muir’s Dunbar – A Town Trail’. This little volumenot only takes one on a guided tour of the places known to Muir butalso gives an insight into Victorian Dunbar.However, the most wonderful news was the decision of the JohnMuir Association in the United States to give the 2008 John Muir Conservation Award for a Non-profit Organisation to the Birthplace.The Birthplace had been nominated by Will Collin, supported bymyself and Stephen Bunyan, Friends member and Chairman of Dunbar Community Council. Manager Jo Moulin went over toCalifornia to accept the award on 15
November. Councillor DavidBerry, leader of East Lothian Council happened to be in California ona private visit and took the opportunity to support Jo at the awardceremony.Finally, if you are looking for that little special something to putin a Christmas stocking, do not forget the gifts available from theBirthplace shop, particularly the Friends four books.A Happy Christmas to you and yours, and a peaceful andprosperous 2009.
Jim Thompson 
John Muir’s Dunbar 
– Another New Book Launch
John Muir’s Dunbar 
has been a steady seller since it was published in 1998.Indeed there were less than 200 copies left of the original 2500 when Friends’council took the decision to prepare a new edition a little over a year ago. Andwho better to ask to write it than David Anderson, who was heavily involvedin the preparation of the first edition.David has been responsible for considerable research into John Muir’s familyin Dunbar and elsewhere, and Dunbar history in general. So much newinformation was available. Nonetheless it was still a major undertaking andtherefore a considerable commitment. However, fortunately, David agreedand set to work.There was the question of funding to be resolved and Friends’ council wasdelighted when Honorary Member Winifred Sillitto offered to fund theprinting costs, by far the major outlay. With grants totalling 50% of the designcosts coming from East Lothian Leader + and Dunbar Community Council, itwas’ all systems go’.It was clear that David’s text would far exceed the 24 pages of the old editionand a limit of 56 pages was agreed. Even then, some reluctant trimming had tobe done. A search for suitable photographs was conducted. Emma Westwater of Source Graphic design was again approached to provide the technical inputand ensure the ‘in house’ style was maintained.The result was revealed at a small launch party in the Birthplace on 22October. The unanimous opinion was that the new
John Muir’s Dunbar 
wasan excellent addition to Friends’ small but growing book list and convener JimThompson thanked all those involved, particularly David and Winifred.
John Muir’s Dunbar 
is available from the Birthplace price £3.50. UK members wishing to obtain copies by mail should send cheques for £3.50 per copy to Will Collin, 2 Rosebery Place, Dunbar EH42 1AQ. Friends will bear the cost of postage until 31 December 2008.
Yosemite Artists and Photographers
 John Muir and Yosemite Valley are closely linked in many people’s minds. Avisit to the exhibition of Ansel Adams’ stunning photographs at Edinburgh’sCity Arts Centre in February prompted Will Collin to delve into the history of Yosemite art and he presented the result to Friends at their November meeting.One may be forgiven for thinking that the white man’s involvement withYosemite Valley began around the time of Muir’s first visit in 1868 but thefirst artist to visit, Thomas Ayres, made the first drawing in 1855; the firstphotographs were taken by Charles Weed in 1859; and the first major paintingby Albert Bierstadt in 1863. Since then, scarcely a year has passed withoutleading US landscape painters and photographers visiting the Valley.Will’s talk focussed on a few of the earliest – painters Thomas Hill andWilliam Keith as well as Bierstadt; photographers Carleton Watkins,Eadweard Muybridge and George Fiske. Time allowed no more. The imageswhich were the key part of the presentation showed El Capitan, YosemiteFalls, Half Dome and the rest in all their glory.If you missed Will’s presentation and can visit the Birthplace, ask to see
Yosemite: Art of an American Icon
by Amy Scott. It was presented to JimThompson by the Yosemite School at the end of their visit in June and isavailable from the front desk.
John Muir Association Conservation AwardsMartinez, CA, 15th November 2008
In September, Friends and Dunbar Community Council nominated the JohnMuir’s Birthplace team for a John Muir Association Conservation Award. Theteam were successful and with less than three weeks notice managed to securefunding, book flights and accommodation to enable Jo Moulin (Manager, JohnMuir’s Birthplace) to attend the award ceremony. Arrangements were alsomade to make the most of the opportunity to promote the work of John Muir’sBirthplace and the events planned for Homecoming 2009.Campbell Theatre, Martinez, offered a cabaret style venue for the evening withsponsorship from Muir-Hanna Vineyards and Shell Oil’s Martinez Refinery.The programme included feature speaker John Muir Laws (no relation) on
Finding Connection in Nature
and gave Jo a chance to meet with Muir 

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