July 29, 2014

Today in History: Cherry Blossoms

Jefferson Memorial with cherry blossoms, Washington, D.C.
Today in History–March 27–the Library of Congress features Washington D.C.‘s cherry trees. On this day in 1912 two Yoshino cherry trees were planted on the northern bank of the Potomac River Tidal Basin by First Lady Helen Herron Taft and the Viscountess Chinda, the Japanese ambassador’s wife, to celebrate the Japanese government’s gift of 3,000 trees to the United States (the Japanese gave 3,800 more trees in 1965). In addition to the Tidal Basin, trees were planted near the site of the future Jefferson Memorial, in East Potomac Park, and on the White House grounds. Each year the U.S. capital celebrates the spring and the Japanese-American relationship with the Cherry Blossom Festival. Learn more by visiting the Today in History section and reading this Library blog post: Field of Cherries, then click the links below to access some beautiful primary sources. You also might be interested in this previous PSN post with loads of primary sources related to Washington D.C.

Sakura: Cherry Blossoms as Living Symbols of Friendship (online exhibition)

The Cherry Blossom Festival: Sakura Celebration (streaming webcast)

Blooming Cherry Blossoms, Falling Cherry Blossoms: Symbolism of the Flower in Japanese Culture and History (streaming webcast)

Cherry Blossoms, Insects, and Inspections In Custodia Legis blog post March 27, 2012

In the land of the cherry blossom (book published 1915)

The royal vagabond or When the cherry blossoms fall (instrumental song, 1919)

Cherry blossom sheet music

Cherry blossom image set

Cherry blossoms historical newspaper coverage

Selected Internet resources – cherry blossoms

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