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Eliza R. Scidmore

Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore, a writer, photographer and editor for National Geographic in its early days, visited Japan for the first time in 1885 and was enchanted by the blooming cherry trees like this one in a public garden in Kanazawa. Returning home to Washington, D.C., she petitioned officials to plant those same trees around the Capitol. On March 27, 1912, the first of 3,000 cherry trees—gifts from the Japanese government—were planted around the Tidal Basin. When she died in 1928, her ashes were buried in Yokohama. A cherry tree descended from one given to Washington by Japan overlooks her grave. Its blossoms fall softly in spring and cover the ground with a carpet of pink.

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