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Onoto Watanna (Winnifred Eaton) (1875-1954)


Selected Bibliography of Secondary Sources Updated 10/31/16

Watanna's books are listed under a variety of names, including the following:

Babcock, Winnifred Eaton.
Eaton, Winnifred.
Reeve, Winifred.
Reeve, Winnifred.
Watanna, Onoto.

An essential resource on Watanna's primary works is Jean Lee Cole's site at https://jeanleecole.wordpress.com/winnifred-eaton-digital-archive/

Biographical sketch from the February 1902 issue of Current Literature. (Note: This sketch is inaccurate on many counts, not the least of which is the description of Watanna as "half-Japanese" and of her age as "twenty-three" instead of twenty-seven.)
Description and contents of the Chinese-Japanese Cookbook, written with her sister Sara Eaton Bosse, at Feeding America

Book cover from A Japanese Nightingale at the Beinecke Library (Yale)

Watanna-The Heart of HyacinthA Japanese Nightingale is in Mark Twain's library; a page no longer available at the Mark Twain house site indicated that this is one of the last books that Livy (his wife) read.

Image scanned from Current Literature (February 1902)


A Japanese Blossom (1906)(Emory University Women's Genre Fiction Project) (Page images at Google Books)
The Heart of Hyacinth (1903) (Emory University Women's Genre Fiction Project) (Page images at Google Books)
The Loves of Sakura Jiro and the Three Headed Maid (1903)

From the University of Virginia E-text Center:

 An Oriental Holiday Dec. 1898  
Karo May 1898
 Ojio-San March 1898
A Rhapsody on Japan Jan. 1898  
Prince Sagaritsu`s Patriotism 1898
The Pot of Paint
The Story of Ido
Shizu`s New Year`s Present Jan. 1899
 The Life of a Japanese Girl 1899
His Interpreter 1899
 Where the Young Look Forward to Old Age 1899  
A Father
Jan. 1900  
The Betrothal of Otoyo
Dec. 1900  
The Old Jinrikisha 1900
 The Wickedness of Matsu May 1900   
Amoy, A Chinese Girl
The Wife of Shimadzu
The Happy Lot of Japanese Women
Daughter of Two Lands
The Bride of Yonejiro
Yoshida Yone, Lover
 Miss Perfume 1902
 Count Oguri`s Quest 1902
 The Japanese in New York 1903
The Diary of Dewdrop
The Diary of Dewdrop
Japanese War News by Word o`Mouth
 An Unexpected Grandchild 1909
 The Marriage of Okiku-San 1910
 Tokiwa: A Tale of Old Japan 1911
The Marriage of Jinyo
Miss Spring Morning
Starving and Writing in New York 1922
 Butchering Brains 1928  
Honorable Movie Takee Sojin
 How Frenchmen Make Love 1929  
 "I Could Get Any Woman`s Husband" 1929
 What Happened to Hayakawa 1929

From "General Gossip of Authors and Writers," Current Literature (February 1902), p. 236:

Unusual and very interesting has been the career of Onota [sic] Watanna, who in private is Mrs. B. W. Babcock. For one so young--she is but twenty-three--she has been more of a wanderer, and has seen more of the world than the usual person of twice her years.

As is generally known, she is half Japanese, her father being an Englishman in the consular service, and her mother a full-blooded Japanese. Her parents were married according to the rites of the Christian church and are both still living.

Onota Watanna was born in Japan, but was educated here and in England. She entered literature, as have many others, through the door of journalism. WHen but fifteen years of age she reported the debates of the letgislative council in Jamaica, West Indies, for a small local newspaper. She then came to this country and did work for the Cincinnati Commercial-Tribune. Her first Japanese story was published by that paper. She left Cincinnati and went to Chicago, and for four years wrote for papers and magazines. Her first magazine story came out in the Ladies' Home Journal; since then she has written for nearly all the large periodicals of the country. While in Chicago, she wrote her first book, Miss Numé of Japan. She has lived in New York but two years, during which time she has worked for Munsey's and has studied at Columbia University. Her beautiful story, A Japanese Nightingale, which came out last year, is of course her most important piece of work and her finest. It was this story which established her claim and suggested something of the strength and power and poetry which she possesses. THe book was really an achievement for one so young, and a vague analogy between it and her life, which the curious might care to draw, gives it additional interest.

Comments to D. Campbell.