Caitlin Campbell Glacier Bay

(Reposted from August 2018) An email out of the blue from U.S. park ranger Caitlin Campbell sparked my first trip to Alaska this summer, capped by a special experience at Glacier Bay. Caiti first contacted me a year ago after stumbling across the website and blog I started to chronicle my progress on a biography…

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Steamer "Idaho" in Juneau, 1887

Of all I’ve learned about Eliza Scidmore so far, nothing has excited my imagination so much as her pioneering Alaska travel. She went for the first time in the summer of 1883, in a journey that became historic, as I show in the video below.     Scidmore, then 26, was working at the time…

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My cameo appearance on BBC2’s “Great American Railroad Journeys” can now be seen on the Internet. The episode appears here on YouTube. I make a short appearance about 16:00 minutes into the clip. The interview took place in the summer of 2018, when I went to Alaska for research and to lecture on my book…

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Eliza Scidmore woodcut

On a research run through the Internet I come across this woodcut illustration of my book subject, Eliza Scidmore. It was made by an L.A. artist named Bijou Karman for an online National Geographic series on “21 Women Travelers Who Changed the World.” You can see the list of women and their portraits here. I…

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Photos Birth of Alaska Tourism Juneau was only a few years old when Eliza Scidmore first saw it in 1883. (1887 photo, W.H. Partridge Collection, Southern Methodist University) Eliza Scidmore traveled to Alaska in 1883 on the Idaho. Its detour into upper Glacier Bay paved the way to tourism. (1887 photo, Alaska State Library) Captain…

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Hand-colored photo Eliza Scidmore from "Eliza's Cherry Trees"

Every age has strong, independent women who defy the gender conventions of their era to follow their hearts and minds. Eliza Scidmore (1856-1928) was one such maverick. Today, people know of her mostly as the visionary of Washington’s now-famous cherry trees. Yet she was so much more. Remarkably “modern” for her time, Scidmore became an…

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Diana has been been interviewed about the subject of her biography-in-progress on Eliza Scidmore by major media including The Washington Post, National Geographic, and Japanese and British television. She has lectured to diverse audiences and published several articles on the subject. Her book-related awards are also listed below. Media Interviews & TV Appearances July 29,…

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My book, forthcoming from Oxford University Press, is the first biography of Eliza Scidmore, Gilded Age travel writer and visionary of D.C.’s Japanese cherry trees. Read More About Diana Lisa Damico Portraits A writer, editor, journalist and novice biographer, Diana Parsell has worked in Washington, D.C., and Southeast Asia for media and science organizations, including…

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Eliza Scidmore now has her own page on the John Muir website, hosted by the Sierra Club. The website, established in 1994, features a huge amount of information on all things Muir, with new material added regularly. After learning about Scidmore’s connection to Muir, the webmaster of the site, Harold Wood, invited me to post…

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Tourists at Muir Glacier, 1880s

Eliza Scidmore is known largely for her role as the earliest visionary of Washington’s cherry trees. She was also an intrepid traveler. And the National Geographic Society considers her its first female explorer. The Geographic recently spotlighted some of its pioneering women on its blog. I kicked off the series with an article on Eliza…

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