This digital collection consists of one of Muriel Orr-Ewing’s many photograph albums. Muriel lived several different lives during her 94 years. She was born in 1900 in Switzerland, but moved to England with her family in 1916. She had three marriages during her lifetime that took her to Japan, Austria, and England. Her husbands’ names, in order, were Cuthbert Boyd Bowman, Dr. Franz Xavier Schmuttermayer, and Captain Hugh Orr-Ewing.
While in Japan, Muriel wore kimono, taught herself Japanese, and even studied chanoyu, the art of Japanese tea, with a master. She also had two sons, Peter and Anthony, born in 1924 and 1928 respectively.
This travel photograph album is from her time spent in Japan, and features photographs from 1924 to 1925. Muriel’s newborn son Peter, first husband Boodh, friends, and staff all appear in photographs in the album. This album also features photographs from Muriel’s travels in and around Japan, China, Singapore, and England.
After living in Japan for several years, Muriel moved to Austria and set up a boarding house in 1931. After the Nazi invasion of Austria in 1938, Muriel was forced to flee Austria. She returned to England and opened a preparatory school in 1940. This preparatory school was destroyed in the London air raids, so she started again and created a new school. After being headmistress of her school for almost 23 years, Muriel felt she needed a change. In 1969, she sold the large estate and moved to London where she continued to be active in the community. By 1974 she was tired of living on her own, and jumped at the chance to move in with her son, Peter, who was at that time Professor of Linguistics at the University at Buffalo. Muriel readily took to Buffalo and became a naturalized citizen in 1975. She lived in Buffalo until her death on April 15, 1994.
If you would like more information about the archival collection that this travel album came from, please visit the Finding Aid for the Muriel Orr-Ewing Papers, 1822-1994