Eliza Scidmore has made her debut appearance on LibriVox.
I discovered LibriVox a couple of years ago and am now a big fan. It’s free online service of audiobooks recorded from titles in the public domain. The concept is especially wonderful because all the books are recorded by volunteers. And the readers are people from around the world. A big, beautiful universe of book lovers.
LibriVox is great for easing my resistance to gym workouts. I’ve found it’s also a nice, soothing way to “read” in bed on a winter night before falling asleep.
I’ve been working my way through some of the classics I missed. So far: Middlemarch (tough to absorb in audio of mixed narrators, so I followed along in a paperback), several Edith Wharton novels and Uncle Tom’s Cabin (the reader was brilliant, quite theatrical in his reading). My latest listen is one of my all-time favorite books, Willa Cather’s My Antonia. Also have on my download list some works by John Muir and the British travel writer Isabella Bird. Continue reading
This is Ichiro Fudai. We’ve never met — in person.
Ichiro Fudai at home in Hanamaki, Japan
But Ichiro has become a research collaborator in Japan, after he found out about my book project on Eliza Scidmore and discovered an important connection in his hometown of Hanamaki.
Ichiro, who has visited the United States and has excellent command of English, lives in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture. That’s the home region of a man who became a close friend of Eliza Scidmore late in life, Dr. Inazo Nitobe.
Trained as an agronomist, Dr. Nitobe became a statesman and, like Eliza Scidmore, an advocate for international peace. Late in life he worked for the League of Nations in Geneva, where Eliza spent her final years. She socialized often with Dr. Nitobe and his American-born wife, Mary.
Last Friday a 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck in the seabed of the Pacific Ocean about 150 miles off the northeastearn coast of Japan. It caused severe shaking, but no reported deaths, along a coastal area known as Sanriku.
That’s near the region devastated in March 2011 by the catastrophic 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that killed about 19,000 people and caused meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
Aftermath of earthquake and tsunami along Japan’s Sanriku coast, 1896 (Photo from “National Geographic”)
Sanriku lies in an area of the world prone to earthquakes because of the underlying plate tectonics. More than a century ago, Eliza Scidmore reported on the aftermath of a disastrous earthquake and tsunami that struck the Sanriku coast on the evening of June 15, 1896. Her article appeared in the September 1896 issue of National Geographic.
Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square in Washington, now home to the D.C. Historical Society
Last week the Library of Congress held a seminar on Andrew Carnegie’s legacy of establishing public libraries in the United States and several other countries, beginning in the late 19th century.
About 1,600 were built in the United States. One of them is at Mount Vernon Square in Washington. Today it houses the offices of the D.C. Historical Society and the affiliated Kiplinger Research Library, where I found some very useful information in the early stages of my research on Eliza Scidmore.