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would be the natural starting-point from which all trips would be made. Later the idea expanded, and by 1890 the proposition of forming a club or association was widely discussed, particularly among the students and faculty of the University of California, and the name “Sierra Club” seems to have been thought of at that time. Professor Senger discussed the matter with many of his friends, notably with Professor William D. Armes, of the state university, with Mr. Warren Olney, of San Francisco, and with John Muir. I myself realized the importance of such a club during a trip through the Kings River Sierra in 1890. At that time nothing was popularly known of the trails in that section, and our party knew nothing from day to day of what lay before us.

The one thing which finally brought matters to a head was the creation of the Yosemite, Sequoia, and General Grant national parks in October, 1890. The idea here was first conceived by Mr. Robert Underwood Johnson, editor of the Century Magazine. He visited Yosemite during the summer of 1889, and was persuaded by Mr. Muir to accompany him to the high Sierra region about the headwaters of the Tuolumne and Merced rivers. He noticed the sad destruction caused by sheep in the meadows and wild-flower gardens, descriptions of which he had read in Mr. Muir's articles, and on his return he urged the formation of a great national park which should include this upper region, offering to Mr. Muir the use of the Century Magazine to put before the public a proper description of this and other scenic wonders of the Sierra. Right gladly Mr. Muir took up the work, and, energetically backed by those who afterward were founders of the Sierra Club, the necessary bills were passed through Congress and signed by President Cleveland.

The formation of the Sierra Club was now no longer a matter of doubt. It was decided to abandon the idea of headquarters in Yosemite Valley, as that was obviously inappropriate to the broader idea, and to make the place of business San Francisco.

On January 11, 1892, Professor Senger, encouraged by the universal interest shown, wrote to Mr. Olney, whose letter in reply follows:


Dear Sir: Your favor of the rith was not received until yesterday.

I should be pleased to confer with you in regard to the forming of a Sierra Club. Don't know that I could take an active part, but should be pleased to be present at the birth of the Club.

Truly yours,


On Saturday, January 16, Professor Senger called at Mr. Olney's office and the matter was discussed, this being the first of several such informal discussions. Finally it was decided to call a meeting of interested persons for purposes of organization. The following letter from John Muir, dated May 10, 1892, and reproduced in Plate clvi, is the earliest I have been able to find from him bearing on this subject:


Dear Sir: I am greatly interested in the formation of an Alpine Club, and think with you and Mr. Olney that the time has come when such a club should be organized. You may count on me as a member and as willing to do all in my power to further the interests of such a club. I shall be glad to see you at my house near Martinez, or to meet you in the city. Mr. Armes of the State University is also interested in the organization of such a club, and I advise you to correspond with him.

Yours truly,


Shortly afterward came a second letter from Mr. Muir, which was as follows: PROF. SENGER,

MARTINEZ, May 22. Dear Sir: I will gladly attend the meeting on Saturday next at Mr. Olney's office.

I suppose it will not be best to have a large number present at the first meeting. I should like to have Mr. Thos. Magee invited as likely to prove useful and Mr. Pelham Ames.

Hoping that we will be able to do something for wildness and make the mountains glad, I remain

Cordially yours,


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poration were signed. At this preliminary meeting the policy of the proposed Sierra Club was outlined, and it was left to Mr. Olney to draw up the papers necessary for incorporation.

The next meeting was on Saturday, June 4, 1892, and at this the agreement of association, the articles of incorporation, and the by-laws were signed. The first board of directors was elected and consisted of:

John Muir, President,
WARREN OLNEY, First Vice-President,
J. C. BRANNER, Second Vice-President,
WILLIAM D. ARMEs, Secretary,
J. H. SENGER, Corresponding Secretary,
Mark B. KERR, Treasurer,

R. M. PRICE. It will be noticed that John Muir was the first president, and he held that office for twenty-two years, until the time of his death.

The purposes set forth in, and the wording of, the articles of incorporation show a great deal of thought and care in the preparation. Throughout the entire twenty-five years of active life of the club they have served the purpose admirably. If drawn today to serve present needs of our club, they could not have been put in better form. Inasmuch as they appear in complete form only in Publication No. 1 of the club, which is now entirely out of print, I shall quote them in full.

Know all men by these presents:

That we, the undersigned, a majority of whom are citizens and residents of the State of California, have this day voluntarily associated ourselves together for the purpose of forming a Corporation under the laws of the State of California. And we hereby certify as follows, to-wit:

That the name of said Corporation shall be the SIERRA CLUB.

That the said Association is made, and the said Corporation is
formed, not for pecuniary profit.

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