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Joseph N. ("Little Joe") LeConte

1870-1950 Joseph N LeConte - "Little Joe"
  • University professor of mechanical and hydraulic engineering, and the second President of Sierra Club (after John Muir and before William E. Colby, for the years 1915 - 1917.
  • Son of Joseph LeConte, a well-known geologist and good friend of John Muir.
  • Joseph N. LeConte, like his father, was a charter member of the Sierra Club. He served on the board of directors for 42 years (1898 - 1940).
  • Joseph N. LeConte made many mountaineering trips in the Sierra beginning in 1887. He made a series of triangulations of major peaks from Mt. Ritter to Mt. Whitney to facilitate accurate map-making. He was also a photographer and chronicler of many Sierra Club outings.
  • Both LeConte's - father and son - have been remembered with numerous names in the Sierra Nevada. Joseph N. LeConte is memorialized in the mountains with LeConte Canyon south of Muir Pass and LeConte Point above Hetch Hetchy, both named by U.S. Geological Survey
    topographers in tribute to his trailblazing and map making.
  • Francis P. Farquhar dedicated his book Place Names of the High Sierra (San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1926), to Joseph Nisbet LeConte, “Mountaineer and Explorer of the High Sierra.”).

Some of Joseph N. LeConte's writings include:

  • Joseph N. LeConte, “Journal of a Camping Trip Amongst the Highest of the California Sierra,
    Summer of 1890,” typescript of his journal, 54-57. “My First Summer in the Kings River Sierra,”
    Sierra Club Bulletin [hereafter SCB] 26:1 (February 1941), 9-14.
  • Joseph N. LeConte, “The Sierra Club,” SCB 10:2 (January 1917), 135-141 (article written by Joseph N. LeConte on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Sierra Club)
  • Joseph N. LeConte, “The Ascent of the North Palisades,” SCB 5: 1 (January 1904), 3.
  • Joseph N. LeConte, “The High Mountain Route between Yosemite and the King’s River Cañon,” SCB 7: 1 (1909), 16-18.



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