Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore (SID-more) was born in 1856 and grew up in the lively city of Washington, D.C. As a child, Eliza met the travelers and politicians who stayed at her mother's boarding house, saw Civil War troops passing in the streets, and looked around the White House when she visited Abraham Lincoln.
Eliza built friendships with influential members of Washington society as she attended frequent parties and events. While still a teenager, Eliza traveled to Europe, then she attended Oberlin College in Ohio for two years. She returned to Washington and found work as a journalist for various newspapers.
Eliza loved traveling the world, exploring different cultures, studying local arts, and learning about plants and gardens. She took photographs and wrote about the exotic places she saw. Eliza wrote many magazine articles and seven books. She was an early and important member of the National Geographical Society. She was recognized as an expert who gave lectures on Asia. Eliza had a rich and varied life, full of adventure. She died in Switzerland in 1928.