steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Bird and Butler

As long as I’m on this train, I’ll just mention that, when I was talking with Chiho, my friend from Kagoshima, the other day, she mentioned the Victorian traveller Isabella Bird, as a Westerner who had written a book on Japan in that era (I’ve an amateur interest in such people, being in a small way one of their successors). Naturally I looked her up on Wikipedia, and was surprised to find, almost in the first line of her substantial entry, a reference to my great-great-aunt, Fanny Jane Butler. When Fanny founded her hospital in Srinagar, Bird provided the money.

It was just one incident in an extremely eventful life that took Bird to adventures in not only Japan but China, Australia, Hawaii and the Rocky Mountains, among other places, but perhaps it was the most influential. One-eyed Jim Nugent, the charismatic adventurer/poet with whom Bird spent such an invigorating time in the 1870s has long since been dust: coyote and cougar stamp o’er his head. The hospital survives to this day.
Tags: family history
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