Annie "Aunt Poo" Shepley

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Annie "Aunt Poo" Shepley's Geni Profile

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Annie Barrows Shepley

Also Known As: "Aunt Poo"
Birthdate: (87)
Birthplace: St Cloud, MN, United States
Death: circa 1943 (83-91) (natural causes)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of James Cunningham Shepley and Mary Fessendenen Shepley
Wife of Hyozo Omori
Sister of John Cunningham Shepley; Elizabeth "Bessie" Blake Sergeant and George Barstow Shepley

Managed by: Private User
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About Annie "Aunt Poo" Shepley

In a piece dated June 1942 by E.B. White called "Aunt Poo" (included in his book One Man's Meat) he shared the following information about her.

Sometime before 1942, while she was living in a settlement house called Yurin-En in the slum district of Tokyo, she completed a family history from 1680 to 1908 and hand typed and bound "in an old brocade handed down from her husband's ancestors" three copies of it - one for each of her nieces: Katharine, Elsie and Rosie.

She was strong-minded, sentimental, domineering - with a gift of celebration.  "There was no day so drab but, under Poo's fiery tutelage, could be whipped into a carnival."  

Poo was an artist who studied in Paris and had a studio in New York. After losing her father, mother sister and brother within a short time, she moved to Woodstock, CT where her cousin Mary Perley lived. She hired a cook from Springfield Y.M.C.A. Training School, where there were a few Asians learning to be athletic directors. His name was Hyozo Omori, "a young Japanese of distinguished lineage, frail, aesthetic, and anxious to earn a little money.....He seemed polite but worried.

It became apparent almost immediately that Mr. Omori and a kitchen were strangers of long standing." She enjoyed his company and their discussions about books and Japanese art. His two goals in life were to found a settlement house in Tokyo and to increase the stature of the Japanese race. He asked her to marry him and she accepted. They were married on 10/1/1907 in her family's parlor in Brookline, MA.

Mr. Omori died 5 years later but Aunt Poo stayed in Japan for over 30 years. She wrote "There is something in the Japanese character that can be understood by one of Puritan stock. They like simplicity, even a sort of severity of life. There is no pretense about them. In manners they are punctilious. At heart they are very kind. I do not say that I have never had homesick moments, but I truly loved my husband's beautiful spirit."

Before he died (of tuberculosis, in San Francisco on their way home to Japan after a visit in Boston) they established the settlement house (the Hull House of Tokyo) and he organized the first Japanese team ever to enter the Olympic Games - hoping this might help with the "stature" goal.

Aunt Poo became "thoroughly involved in life at 370 Kashiwagi, Yodobashi, Tokyo. She translated "Lady Murasaki" into English. In the earthquake of 1922 she performed heroic service and was decorated by the government."

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Annie "Aunt Poo" Shepley's Timeline

1856
1856
St Cloud, MN, United States
1943
1943
Age 87