nounced attachment to marriednwomen; so as to preclude any attachmentnthat could cause a rumornor other ties. It would benuseless and impossible to arguenthe matter, or to give reasons fornpreferring solitude soul to solitudena deux; but the reasons are sufficientlynstrong, and if I ever shouldnact in a contrary sense, it wouldnbe because I should have begun tonlose my will, and was in the firstnstages of imbecility. Just now mynonly wish is to escape from thendangers that remain in life withnthe least possible noise and suffering.nIn fact, he called the period after 1885 hisn”posthumous” existence and never remarried.nIt was doubtless a blow to Adams thatnthe nation never drafted him for Presidentnby acclamation. Yet the letters to hisnfriend John Hay, Secretary of State undernPresidents McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt,nshow his vicarious sense of politicalnpower and are rich in ruminationsntouching the imperial ambitions of Russia,nGermany, France, and England. Butnwith Hay’s death in 1905, he remarkednthat “I’ve no longer any concern in politics.”nGradually this historian sunk himselfnin the Middle Ages, so he preparednMont-Saint-Michel and Chartres (1904).nStill, as he told Anne Palmer Fell in 1901,n”though I am glad to be through with it,nand to have no more responsibility for thenuniverse, I find it still very amusing to looknat, from a front box. The spectacle doesnnot lose its interest. Far from it! Whatna fascinating melodrama it is, when onenhas time to think; and what do the Kaisernand the Czar and Edward VII and PierpontnMorgan think of it? I presume thatnMarian can tell you, since she was bornnto it. As I was born in the year 1138,1n36/CHRONICLESn•LIBERAL ARTS-nDANCES WITH DAYSndon’t catch on.”nThe Education was meant to focus whatnhe thought of the meaningless spectaclenof life in his time; and, to Henry James,nhe called the autobiography “a merenshield of protection in the grave. I advisenyou to take your own life in the samenway, in order to prevent biographersnfrom taking it in theirs.” However “suicidal”nthe writing of autobiography maynbe, the letters of Henry Adams give usnthe living man; and, for all the irritationsnof his continuous irony, he is well worthnknowing in this correspondence.nJames W. Tuttleton is a professor ofnEnglish at New York University.nThe ConservativenRoots ofnConservationnby Nelson Van ValennFrederick Billings: A Lifenby Robin W. WinksnNew York: Oxford University Press;n424 pp., $27.95nNew York Times junkies would havennoticed an August 28, 1991, storynheaded “Woodstock Journal.” Readingnon they discovered that the story wasndatelined Woodstock, Vermont, and thatnit reported a proposal by Laurance S.nand Mary Rockefeller to donate their 531aerenWoodstock estate as a National HistoricalnPark. Although the Rockefellernfamily has a generations-long tradition ofnadding to the national park system, thenstory was not one of dog bites man. Thenestate includes the two-centuries-qld mansionnthat was the birthplace of GeorgenColumbus Day was struck from the calendar in Berkeley,nCalifornia, and renamed Indigenous Peoples Day, reported thenChicago Tribune last March. Floyd Red Crow Westerman ofnthe movie Dances With Wolves hailed the decision, saying “wenfeel lucky to have survived these 500 years since Columbus.”nnnPerkins Marsh, author in 1864 of Man andnNature: Physical Geography as Modifiednby Human Action, which in LewisnMumford’s frequently quoted words wasn”the fountainhead of the conservationnmovement in America.” In 1869, Marshnsold the estate—the only time it hasnever been sold—to a lifelong admirer,nFrederick Billings. Mary Rockefellernis Billings’ granddaughter.nAlthough a principal American railroadnbuilder and pioneer conservationist, FredericknBillings has lacked a scholarly biography.nRobin W. Winks, having gainednpermission from the Rockefeller family tonconsult the records in the BillingsnArchives, has admirably filled that gap.nBefore launching his railroad career,nBillings sought his fortune in gold-rushnCalifornia. He arrived in San Francisconin the spring of 1849 and took not to thengold fields but to law and real estate.nHe was the first attorney in San Francisconto hang out his shingle and was a foundingnpartner in what became California’snprincipal law firm. Specializing in litigationnof disputed land claims—a lucrativenfield in gold-rush California—nBillings used his fees and his knowledgenof dubious land titles to buy real estate.nHe also, with his partners, constmcted thenMontgomery Block, the city’s most attractivenoffice complex., As soon as his increasingnwealth could support the role,nBillings the attorney-businessman wasnjoined by Billings the philanthropist. Publicneducation (especially school libraries),nreligion, and parks and scenic landscapesnbecame lifelong areas of special interest.nHe was a major figure in both the foundirignof the University of California andnthe preservation of Yosemite Valley as,nin effect, a state-run national park.nYet Billings continued to sign himselfn”Frederick Billings of Woodstock,” andnhis California years did indeed prove onlynto be an extended sojourn. In thenmid-1860’s he returned to the East Coastnand bought into “the single greatest Americanncorporate undertaking of the 19thncentury,” the Northern Pacific Railroad,nbecoming its largest single stockholder andnpresident. He made two, closely related,nlifesaving contributions to the railroad. Innthe aftermath of the Panic of 1873—nlargely precipitated by Jay Cooke’s mishandlingnof Northern Pacific finances—nBillings carried through a reorganizationnthat made survival possible. Equally crucial,nhe revitalized the railroad’s land office,nand income from the increased landnsales made the reorganization feasible.n