NW Quadrant, East of Rock Creek, Environmentalists, Female, Journalists, Also of Interest

Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore
(October 14, 1856 – November 3, 1928)

1837 M St NW, Dupont Circle neighborhood, DC.

Scidmore was a geographer, photographer, and writer who became the first female Board member of the National Geographic Society. She was a native Washingtonian, raised in her mother's boarding house, and working as a society journalist. She traveled to Japan many times between 1885 and 1928, sometimes in the company of her brother, George Hawthorne Scidmore, a career diplomat. In 1885, returning to DC from Japan for the first time, she had the idea to plant Japanese cherry trees in DC, a scheme finally picked up by First Lady Helen Taft in 1909. Although the first trees imported had to be destroyed due to an infestation, later efforts proved successful, and now those trees have become a symbol of the city.

Scidmore published one novel, As the Hague Ordains (1907), and several books of travel memoirs and travel guides, including Alaska, Its Southern Coast and the Sitkan Archipelago (1885), Jinrikisha Days in Japan (1891), Westward to the Far East (1892), Java, the Garden of the East (1897), China, the Long-Lived Empire (1900) and Winter India (1903).

Also later home of John Dos Passos.

Historic author photo courtesy of Library of Congress.