Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore photographs relating to Japan and China, circa 1914-1916

image for Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore photographs relating to Japan and China, circa 1914-1916
Most of the glass negatives and lantern slides have been digitized and are available online. Contact prints were made from the nitrate negatives and are available with the collection.
Additional photographs made and collected by Scidmore are held in National Anthropological Archives Photo Lot 97 and in the National Geographic Society archives.
The Department of Anthropology collections holds several artifacts donated by Scidmore.
Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore (1856-1928) was an author, journalist, lecturer, and collector who traveled extensively and helped to bring Japanese cherry blossoms to Washington, D.C. She spent her early life in Madison, Wisconsin, and then moved during the Civil War to Washington, D.C. with her mother and brother. Following two years of education at Oberlin College, she became a newspaper correspondent responsible for covering the capitalʹs social scene. During a trip to Alaska in 1883, she wrote her first travel book: Alaska, Its Southern Coast and the Sitkan Archipelago (1885). Shortly thereafter, she lived for long periods of time in southern and eastern Asia, including in China, India, Japan, Java, and the Philippines. Scidmore promoted intercultural understanding and cooperation, particularly encouraging the relationship between America and Japan, where her brother served as a Consul General in Yokohama. She was decorated by the Japanese emperor for her sympathetic reporting of Japanʹs treatment of prisoners of war during the Russo-Japanese War. Though Scidmore contributed articles to many popular magazines, she primarily wrote and photographed for National Geographic (between 1893 and 1914). She also served on the board of managers at National Geographic.
Preliminary finding aid is available in repository.
The collection was donated to the Smithsonian Institution because Scidmore produced the photographs with equipment on loaned from the Institution. It was donated in USNM accessions 70640 (1923), 85816 (1925), 31224 (1896), and possibly 30262 (1896).
Photographs made and collected by Scidmore documenting life in Japan and China. They depict people, agriculture, crafting and jewelry, and natural and urban settings. Additional photographs were made in South America and possibly the Philippines. The collection includes lantern slides published by the William H. Jackson Photo and Publishing Company of Denver and E. B. Thompson of Washington, D.C.
Cite as
Photo lot 139, Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore photographs relating to Japan and China, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Repository Loc.
National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Museum Support Center, Suitland, Maryland
Restrictions & Rights
Original nitrate negatives are in cold storage and require advanced notice for viewing
circa 1914-1916
Local number
NAA Photo Lot 139
Scidmore, Eliza Ruhamah 1856-1928
possible photographer or publisher
Jackson, William Henry 1843-1942
Thompson, E. B (Ezra Bowen) 1865-1951
South America
Physical description
120 lantern slides
50 negatives : glass
23 negatives : nitrate
National Anthropological Archives
Collection descriptions