National Cherry Blossom Festival records
Collection Scope and Content
The collection tells the story of the beginning of the Festival mostly through letters and newspaper articles. In addition, the official festival programs relate the different activities and volunteers. The collection has seven series arranged by type of material. Due to its completeness, the most useful series in the collection is the early history. The series includes photocopies of the first letters written in 1909 from the Superintendent of Public Buildings and Grounds and Washington Monument to the Landscape Gardener of Greenhouses, and Monument Grounds. These letters and others in the folder discuss the original donation in 1909 and a second donation in 1912. Newspaper articles and official festival programs add to this history. Although not complete, the collection does includes the type of material one would expect to find in a collection maintained by a festival volunteer, especially a volunteer who at times held various positions of authority. There are programs, information about advertisement costs, by-laws of the NCBF records of organizations affiliated with the events, and photographs of festival activities. The collection covers the years 1909-2002. It is 9 boxes and approximately 3.5 linear ft.
- Creation: 1909-2001
- National Cherry Blossom Festival (Washington, D.C.) (Organization)
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research.
Restrictions on Use
Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.
Historical or Biographical Note
The idea to plant cherry trees along the Tidal Basin in Potomac Park came from Helen Herron Taft, wife of President Taft. Hearing about the planned planting, the Japanese government donated 3,000 cherry blossom trees to the United States. At the March 27, 1912 planting ceremony, Mrs. Taft planted the first tree followed by Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador. The first celebration of this event came in 1927, when school children reenacted the initial planting. In 1935, many local civic groups combined to sponsor a three-day event to commemorate the Japanese gift. Since this first event, the National Cherry Blossom Festival has grown in popularity. The festival is two weeks long and includes many events such as a formal ball, pageant, parade, concert, and a ten-mile road race. In 1985 the National Cherry Blossom Festival coordinating group became a not-for-profit umbrella organization whose stated purpose is to " . . . coordinate, promote, and provide for public participation in the Festival." The members of the organization are volunteers from local businesses, civic groups, the D.C. government, and the National Park Service.
3.5 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Collection tells the story of the beginning of the National Cherry Blossom Festival mostly through letters and newspaper articles. In addition, the official festival programs relate the different activities and volunteers. The collection has seven series arranged by type of material.
Organized into eight series: Administration files, Affiliate ceremonies, Affiliate organizations, Graphics, Histories, Publications, Videotapes, and Planning documents.
Materials are stored off-site, and will require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.
Paul Skrabut, a festival volunteer, donated this collection of material related to the National Cherry Blossom Festival, its history and the operations by the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Inc.
- Guide to the National Cherry Blossom Festival records, 1909-2001
- Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English