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Topics in Chronicling America - Cherry Trees

In 1909, wishing to beautify the city, First Lady Helen Taft plans to plant trees along the Potomac River. Hearing of the plan, the Japanese donate cherry trees in the name of the City of Tokyo. The first 2,000 arrive diseased and tragically had to be burned. Undeterred, Tokyo’s Mayor sent 3,000 more in 1912. As lasting symbols of friendship between the two countries, their fame continues today with more than a million visitors coming to see them each year. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection ( Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.

Jump to: Sample Articles

Important Dates:

  • 1909-1912. Gift of cherry trees is given to Washington D.C. by Tokyo as a symbol of friendship between Japan and the U.S. The original 2,000 trees sent from Japan arrive diseased and must be destroyed. More trees are sent and planted.
  • 1913-1920. Planting of cherry trees continues along the Tidal Basin. Visitors begin arriving to see the blossoming trees.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Cherry, trees, Japan, Japanese, Tokyo.
  • It is important to use a specific date range if looking for articles for a particular event in order to narrow your results. Try searching between 1909 and 1912 for articles about the original gift of the trees.
  • Try searching for words within proximity. For example, search for cherry within 5 words of trees.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  August 21, 2013
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