I Tracked D.C. Cherry Trees in Tokyo

On Saturday I literally walked in Eliza Scidmore‘s footsteps. On a crisp spring day, during my research trip to Japan, I took the train to Tokyo for cherry blossom viewing at Mukojima. Strolling and partying beneath the blooming trees reenacts an ancient Japanese tradition known as hanami (cherry tree viewing). Eliza Scidmore got her idea…

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Off to Japan, in Eliza Scidmore’s Footsteps

Diana Parsell with Miki Ebara of NHK TV

A busy Saturday. I just spent five hours with a film crew from the New York bureau of Japan’s NHK television, talking about my research on Eliza Scidmore. Miki Ebara, the chief correspondent in New York,  first contacted me a year ago,  not long after I launched this blog (previously as “A Great Blooming”). She…

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A Retreat in Santa Fe for Scidmore Book

Time was my Valentine this year. Long blocks of uninterrupted time. I’m just back from three blissful weeks of solitude and seclusion in a cozy casita in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains outside Santa Fe, where I worked on my book about Eliza Scidmore. Amid the desolation of winter in the East, I came home…

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Eliza Scidmore and Earthquakes in Japan

National Geographic tsunami article 1896tsunami 1896

Last Friday a 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck the northeast coast of Japan, in a region known as Sanriku. The eruption, originating on the ocean floor 150 miles away, caused severe shaking but no reported deaths. The catastrophic earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, which killed about 19,000 people and caused meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant,…

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A Scidmore Story Link in My Ohio Hometown

Rufus Dawes

How seductive historical research can be. You start out looking for one thing and end up down a rabbit hole that takes you along a path to some other delightful connection. I’ve just encountered that while researching the Civil War record of Eliza Scidmore’s older half-brother, Edward P. Brooks. Soon after the shelling of Fort…

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Cherry Tree Planting in March 1912 Shaped Public Face of Washington, D.C.

Helen Taft motoring

From NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY NEWSROOM Originally posted March 26, 2012, on National Geographic Voices Blog (Under the transition to Disney partnership in 2020, National Geographic removed previous blog content by contributors. The article below is copied as it appeared on the site.) The cherry trees are blooming in Washington. Tuesday, March 27, 2012, marks 100…

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At National Geographic, Scidmore Photos and Samurai

Rice worker NGS

Photographs from Eliza Scidmore‘s days in Japan are going on display at the National Geographic Society in Washington starting today. The exhibit is twinned with an exhibit on samurai. Included are two dozen hand-colored photos from the early 1900s, which the National Geographic attributes to Eliza Scidmore. Some were published in National Geographic; others are…

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Video: Scidmore’s Historic 1883 Trip to Glacier Bay

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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