Washington Independent Review of Books

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Diana Parsell: Eliza Scidmore: The Trailblazing Journalist Behind Washington’s Cherry Trees

Location WOMAN'S NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CLUB, 1526 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, DC.
Date Tuesday, March 26, 2024 at 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Duration   2 hours
Link https://democraticwoman.org/submaster.cfm?aPage=calendardetails.cfm&CalID=927
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Repeats? No

Born on the American frontier just before the Civil War, Eliza Scidmore rose from modest beginnings to become a Washington-based journalist who roamed far and wide to educate Americans about distant places. She helped popularize Alaska, covered the emergence of modern Japan, and became a photographer, conservation advocate and the first female board member at National Geographic. Like a “Forrest Gump” of her day, she bore witness to many major events and rubbed elbows with famous people from John Muir and Alexander Graham Bell to American presidents and Japanese leaders. Today, her legacy lives on in Washington’s famous cherry trees, an idea she carried home from Japan and fought to make a reality with help of First Lady Helen Taft.

Eliza Scidmore: The Trailblazing Journalist Behind Washington's Cherry Trees tells the story in depth for the first time. The book will be available for sale and signing by the author.


  • Remarks and Q&A, in-person and via Zoom.
  • Noon bar opens, lunch optional, 12:30–2 p.m. program. Book signing available 2–2:15 pm.
  • $10 lecture or Zoom only, $30 members and $35 guests for lunch. Cash bar.

Diana Parsell is a former journalist and science writer in Falls Church, VA. She began her editorial career at National Geographic, and has done writing and editing for many other publications and organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and The Washington Post. For her book she received a Mayborn Fellowship in Biography and the Hazel Rowley Prize from Biographers International.

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