Diana Parsell Writer

Diana Parsell Writer

Diana Parsell Writer

Eliza Scidmore

Book Features Writing by Women in WWI

Book "In Their Own Words" on Women in WWI

Note: This blog item was first posted on October 14, 2015. Eliza Scidmore, the subject of my biography in progress, appears in a new book of writings by American women in World War I. Author Elizabeth Foxwell took a very different turn in compiling the anthology. Foxwell has spent much of her career immersed in…

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I Saw Glacier Bay Through 19th-Century Eyes

Caitlin Campbell Glacier Bay

An email out of the blue from U.S. park ranger Caitlin Campbell sparked my first trip to Alaska this past 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 of Eliza Scidmore.…

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John Muir Website Adds Page on Eliza Scidmore

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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Eliza Scidmore Takes the Stage at National Geographic

Woman in kimono with Mt. Fuji backdrop

Eliza Scidmore got top billing on stage Thursday night, March 29, in Washington. National Geographic Live! featured a staged presentation of her writings during the city’s cherry blossom season. I was there, and National Geographic VP Greg McGruder kindly introduced me to the audience as Scidmore’s biographer. I had served as an informal adviser to…

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D.C. Cherry Trees and Girl Scouts Both Turn 106

Washington celebrates the birthday of its famous cherry trees later this month. The city got the first of those trees on March 27, 1912. Two weeks earlier, on March 12, a resident of Savannah, Georgia, founded the Girl Scouts. So, Girl Scouting and Washington’s cherry trees have both been going strong for 106 years. (Many…

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National Geographic Honors Scidmore as Female Explorer

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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Pilgrims Flock to Japan’s Koyasan, Long After Scidmore

  Today, Buddhists and other pilgrims flock to the sacred site of Koyasan, a mountainous area of temples in southeastern Japan. The New York Times ran an article about it in the Oct. 22 travel section. Eliza Scidmore wrote about Koyasan in 1907 for National Geographic. It’s interesting to see the different takes on the same place…

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My Book Proposal Wins Hazel Rowley Prize

BIO Hazel Rowley Award winner 2017

I’m grateful to the International Biographers Organization (BIO) for giving me its 2017 Hazel Rowley Prize. I received the award, for the best proposal for a first biography, on May 20 at BIO’s conference in Boston. BIO began around the time I started my book project. The group has been a terrific resource, especially to a…

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TV Crew Filmed Me ‘On the Hunt’ for Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossom show filming in Potomac Park, Japanese "Mystery Hunter" TV crew

Japan’s TBS network devoted a recent episode of its “Mystery Hunter” series to cherry blossoms. A TV crew filmed me last month discussing Eliza Scidmore’s role in bringing cherry trees to Washington, D.C. The episode aired in Japan two days ago, on March 18. What a hard-working bunch the crew was. They arrived in Washington…

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