Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell, CBE (14 July 1868 – 12 July 1926) was an English writer, traveller, political officer, administrator, spy and archaeologist who explored, mapped, and became highly influential to British imperial policy-making due to her knowledge and contacts, built up through extensive travels in Greater Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and Arabia. Twice named prime minister of Great Britain, he helped to defeat Nazi Germany in World War II. Nobody can be sure. By the time of her death on 12th July 1926, she was very frail and very ill. Bouts of malaria had taken their toll, and Bell developed bronchitis and pleurisy in quick succession. This article was most recently revised and updated by Chelsey Parrott-Sheffer, Research Editor. Her family's fortune had started to decline due to the onset of post-World War I strikes. During the spring of 1900 she went to visit t… Alexander Graham Bell was one of the primary inventors of the telephone, did important work in communication for the deaf and held more than 18 patents. The literal heights she scaled and emotional low she felt… Taken all together, they might point to a state of mind that was understandably despondent. Fine Dining in the Desert with Gertrude Bell. They ordered her home instead (the young man died nine months later). Gertrude Bell in 1921 - the only woman at the Cairo Conference, Also of interest is that fact that whilst she was only the third woman ever to be elected to the Society of Antiquaries of London, there is no evidence that she ever took any advantage from this membership or visited Burlington House whilst in London in 1925. There are two ways of profitable travel in Arabia. It also carried risks - even for those who had built up a considerable tolerance, exceeding the maximum dose was very often fatal. What lies in my future? Why would a woman as brilliant as she - as accomplished, as well-known - either take her own life or be so reckless with the risks of such a large and lethal dose of sleeping pills? The intersections of the lives of Bell and Lawrence have been written about, but as far as I'm aware only in terms of their supposed spying activities, so it's interesting to consider how Bell's last year and her death intersected with Lawrence's resurgence as the character in the Arab Revolt. She had opposed women's suffrage and seen it granted nevertheless. John Donne, leading English poet of the Metaphysical school, is often considered the greatest loved poet in the English language. After taking a fatal dose of sleeping pills, Bell died on July 12, 1926, in Baghdad. Strange relationship choices and loneliness. Cox, who sought her counsel, was long gone. Before the Storm, 1914 Poster published by the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, London If you do fall ill, it's really hard to recover if there are times of the day where you never feel cool; and it's hard to sleep and feel properly rested. Cornwallis, I think, ignored the note, and ignored the implicit 'cry for help' within it. After taking a fatal dose of sleeping pills, Bell died on July 12, 1926, in Baghdad. Bell, died at Indianapolis, last Sunday, of typhoid fever. She really was invested in the archaeology and the landscape and what she called the 'adventure'. She was the only woman present at the 1921 Conference in Cairo, convened by Winston Churchill to determine the boundaries of the Iraqi state. The death was not recorded as suicide. Gertrude Bell, already lonely and still grieving for her younger brother Hugo who had died of typhoid some months earlier, may well have felt this final rejection to be too much. Despite her own political achievements, Bell actively opposed women's suffrage in Britain. 2. I understand the sensitivities that previously existed around this, particularly for the surviving family members. The need for this drug alone suggests that Bell was very unwell, as the side-effects would have outweighed the benefits were this not the case. © 2021 Biography and the Biography logo are registered trademarks of A&E Television Networks, LLC. Bell returned to Baghdad in early September 1925, and Cornwallis also returned there for his work. Gertrude Bell's funeral, Baghdad, 12th July 1926. Yet, just lately, I find myself being drawn again and again to read about the circumstances of her death. Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell was born on July 14, 1868, in Durham, England. In 1899, Bell returned to the Middle East and visited Palestine and Syria, touching off a period of sustained travel there and in Asia and Europe. Gertrude Bell’s most popular book is A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert. She would have been aware of the pervading fear that the family money - the money that provided her with an income - was drying up. Gertrude drinks poison. Her family's fortune had started to decline due to the onset of post-World War I strikes. Gertrude Bell return to Britain in 1925, where she faced family problems and ill health. Between visits to the Middle East, Gertrude Bell’s experience of war work in the south of England and in France was brief, but formative. Importantly, she would still have had the mental faculties to be acutely aware of her own despondency and the lack of any illustrious future waiting for her. The death of Gertrude Bell on the 12th July 1926, from an overdose of 'sleeping pills' in her bedroom in Baghdad, is now well documented in her biographies, and in more recent years it has certainly been fairly openly discussed in terms of suicide. Her day to day life was labelling exhibits in her museum - quite the come-down for the trained archaeologist and the brilliant intellect upon which others had previously relied. And so began a lifetime of travel and a lifelong enchantment with what she saw as the romance of the East, which evolved into a deep understanding of its cultures and people. In her final years, Bell kept herself busy in archaeology, but she slowly sank into depression and illness. Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) was the best known traveler in the Middle East and Arabia in the years before World War I. Gertrude Bell was a British writer, archaeologist and political officer best known for helping to establish modern Iraq after World War I. Her 58th birthday was looming, and the well of validation was running dry. Bell briefly returned to Britain in 1925, and found herself facing family problems and ill health. 3. Her funeral was attended by large numbers. She may have been all too aware, as her influence and privilege waned, that Lawrence's fame and career were only just starting. Indeed, she didn't want to change anything about sex qualifications back home - she was against women being given the vote, for example - and was seemingly only pro social change whilst in the Middle East. Letters from Baghdad: The Documentary Early Life . It was another change to the structures that held her world in place. Though the famous bell within Alice rang for the genius of Gertrude and others, she had her own genius, revealed in these chatty, fascinating letters written during the twenty years after Gertrude's death in 1946. Gertrude Bell: The Founder of Modern Day Iraq. The Gertrude Bell Papers comprise Gertrude's personal correspondence, diaries and miscellaneous items, such as Review of the Civil Administration of Mesopotamia (1920), notebooks, obituaries, lecture notes and miscellaneous reports, memoranda and cuttings. She grew up in a wealthy family in Redcar, a Yorkshire town, in a home built by her father, businessman and industrialist Sir Thomas Hugh Bell. Gertrude Bell, courtesy of the Gertrude Bell Archives, Newcastle University. Bell was born on 14 July 1868 in Washington New Hall – now known as Dame Margaret Hall – in Washington, County Durham, England to a family whose wealth ensured her education and enabled her travels. Her 'work' had rarely been paid work, and the archaeological expeditions and the photographic travels were privately funded. "use strict";(function(){var insertion=document.getElementById("citation-access-date");var date=new Date().toLocaleDateString(undefined,{month:"long",day:"numeric",year:"numeric"});insertion.parentElement.replaceChild(document.createTextNode(date),insertion)})(); Subscribe to the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives. Share with friends It can be dislocating and depressing, and there is some evidence in Bell's letters home that she was very unhappy. She traveled the world, gained enormous power and even helped build a country from scratch. Gertrude Bell lived in Baghdad serving in the British administration and as Honorary Director of the Baghdad Museum until her death in 1926 at age 57 from an overdose of sleeping pills. Gertrude Bell was the youngest woman to graduate with a first-class honours degree in modern history from Oxford University. 6. Lawrence, in attempts to destabilise the Ottoman Empire and encourage an Arab uprising. What do ineffective archaeologists want with battles! I think her last journey was, like most other things she did, thought about, risk-laden, and intentional. A barbiturate, it was used at the time as a sedative, as well as an anti-convulsant and in pain relief. Personally, I think Bell got shunted aside by the countries she served, and by the people she trusted - and, for reasons perhaps of a sense of social obligation, she didn't want to bother her family directly with her pain and so she put literal distance between them. Bell would go on to attend Oxford University, where she studied history. In her biography, Howell observes that Bell had sent him a note the day before she died, asking him to look after her dog Tundra 'in case anything happened to her'. Gertrude Bell had two epic romances, to be sure. Bell also maintained a vast correspondence during this period, which was eventually compiled and published in 1927. There, she collaborated with famed British traveler T. E. Lawrence to try to forge alliances with Arab tribes. Link to forthcoming book added 13th Oct 2018. Archaeologist, linguist, and the greatest woman mountaineer of her age, in 1921 she drew the boundaries of the country that became Iraq. Bell died of an overdose of sleeping pills on the night of July 11-12, 1926, at her home in Baghdad. 7. Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell CBE (14 July 1868 – 12 July 1926) was a British writer, traveller, political analyst, administrator in Arabia, and an archaeologist who mapped and identified Anatolian and Mesopotamian ruins. It can be the case that once past our middling years, there's nothing quite like a birthday to remind us of our own mortality and what a speck of dust in the universe we are. When did she die? In the final years of her life, Bell suffered several health issues as well as a dwindling fortune. Fluent in Persian and Arabic, Bell worked for the British government in Cairo during World War I. Gertrude Bell studied history at Oxford and embarked on a career as a writer, traveler and archaeologist. Suicide was illegal, and I imagine there would have been a desire to protect her long-serving maid, Marie, from any criticism or punishment, as well as Bell's reputation and legacy. She pushed herself with extreme challenges which would have led to intense adrenaline highs. Georgina Howell's biography points out Bell's ambiguous references in 1925 to a 'last summer', which could indeed be read as a stoic farewell to friends and family. Gertrude Bell would have been 57 years old at the time of death or 147 years old today. I wonder if we should be happier too if we thought we were all to meet again.'. Official reports said that she died as a result of archaeological work in the grueling heat of the desert. Gertrude Bell : biography 14 July 1868 – 12 July 1926 Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell, CBE (14 July 1868 – 12 July 1926) was an English writer, traveller, political officer, administrator, archaeologist and spy who explored, mapped, and became highly influential to British imperial policy-making due to her skill and contacts, built up through extensive travels […] Gertrude Bell, a woman of enormous heart and whirling head, of the book said, "Approved: all but the libellous, untruthful description of yourself." Gertrude Bell became the first female to get a first-class degree in modern history at Oxford. Did he have suicidal intentions of his own that day? Gertrude Bell died on July 12, 1926 at the age of 57. She asked both to divorce their wives in order to marry her. She was buried with honours in Baghdad that same day, her coffin draped with the British and Iraqi flags and carried by junior officers from the High Commission. On Monday July 12 1926, quite suddenly, Gertrude Bell died. Her death has been interpreted as a suicide, given her persistent health problems and the recent death of her brother. The constraints of western clothing and the framework of the western working day - which we seem to take everywhere with us, at least partly -  make everything seem ten times worse. Gertrude Bell's Christmas in Bethlehem, 1899, 'It [Bethlehem] was politics etched into the stones of a built landscape; it was 'tribal'; it was staring Bell in the face. Gertrude Bell’s brilliant career at Oxford, where she took a first in history in 1887, was followed by some time spent in Tehrān, where her This way I can keep a quality website alive and provide further free content about Gertrude Bell and T E Lawrence, Many thanks. It was a unique and special Christmas at an extraordinary time in history - and it shaped Gertrude Bell. Gertrude Bell led some impressive expeditions across the desert landscapes of the Middle East, but rarely was she without her baggage animals or a cart to carry her dinner service, provisions and equipment, and a servant (or two) to prepare her meals. She returned to Iraq, to her 'work'. Indeed post-WW1 labour relations were one of the subjects mentioned in her last letter to her father, with the General Strike of May 1926 still very fresh in their minds. British forces eventually captured Baghdad in 1917. This trip sparked her interest in the Middle East, the region on which she would focus much of her energy for the remainder of her life. It’s an intriguing story … and we have her letters, Gertrude Bell, Photographer - from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. There with fantastic garlands did she come . Emmeline Pankhurst founded the Women’s Social and Political Union, whose members — known as suffragettes — fought to enfranchise women in the United Kingdom. Her father married again when Bell was still a young child and the union added a half-brother and two half-sisters to the family. Bell, out of all the British advisers in Arabia, had wanted to keep the British promises over the region and pushed for an independent state. Young Gertrude was born in 1868 in County Durham in the North East of England. Your loving daughter Gertrude'. In the late 19 th and early 20 th century, Gertrude’s Grandfather, Sir Lowthian Bell, and Gertrude’s father, Sir Hugh Bell, commissioned noted Arts and Crafts architects to build Rounton Grange, and the houses of the surrounding village of East Rounton.. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! When did she die? Lawrence then kept a fairly low profile for a while, partly due to imposed changes to his military career, but in the years between 1922 and 1926 he had been hard at work on a corrected version of Pillars which was intended to reach a wider audience - an abridged version titled Revolt in the Desert. King Edward VII took over the British throne after the death of Queen Victoria. It is unknown whether the overdose was an intentional suicide or accidenta… Learn More in these related Britannica articles: National Museum of Iraq It's not a typical formal Bell view of a building or a place - it's a thoughtful, intriguing composition. We strive for accuracy and fairness. Auden was a British poet, author and playwright best known as a leading literary figure in the 20th century for his poetry. Gertrude Bell: 'cultivated' Jews of Baghdad "The Jews form a very important part of the population, rich, intelligent, cultivated and active. Mark Sykes used language about her that could only have been applied to a woman: 'Confound the silly chattering windbag of conceited, gushing, flat-chested, man-woman, globe-trotting, rump-wagging, blethering ass!' Gertrude Bell : biography 14 July 1868 – 12 July 1926 Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell, CBE (14 July 1868 – 12 July 1926) was an English writer, traveller, political officer, administrator, archaeologist and spy who explored, mapped, and became highly influential to British imperial policy-making due to her skill and contacts, built up through extensive travels […] For the hugely independent traveller and diplomat of the Middle East, she displayed a dependence on family and male figures in her 'English life' that she never unlearned. Within a year Gertrude Bell was called to the Middle East to serve the British administration – where, in Baghdad, after a series of notable geo-political accomplishments, she died just a decade later by her own hand. Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell, CBE (14 July 1868 – 12 July 1926) was an English writer, traveller, political officer, administrator, and archaeologist who explored, mapped, and became highly influential to British imperial policy-making due to her knowledge and contacts, built up through extensive travels in Greater Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and Arabia. It was reported that she had asked her maid to wake her - no suspicion of suicide was to attach to Bell, whatever her intention, nor to Marie. As a British political officer in the Middle East, largely unexplored by the West at that time, exploration was a necessity in her work. The death of Gertrude Bell on the 12th July 1926, from an overdose of 'sleeping pills' in her bedroom in Baghdad, is now well documented in her biographies, and in more recent years it has certainly been fairly openly discussed in terms of suicide. On one of her ascents she nearly died, apparently swinging from her ropes for over two days. Learn more about Gertrude B. Elion, the female scientist who helped develop drugs to treat diseases such as malaria and AIDS, at Biography.com. The whole tragic mess ended when Doughty-Wylie died in the battle at Gallipoli in 1915. Bell had recently been home to England, and the winds of change regarding the family's fortunes were palpable. Home Gertude Bell - the Washington woman who changed world history Gertrude Bell is one of the most influential people from the North East, and she hails from our own Washington Village. She is buried in a British cemetery in Baghdad. Fluent in Arabic and Persian, Bell assisted British diplomats and local rulers in the construction of a stable government infrastructure. With her vast knowledge of the Middle East and her fluency in Arabic and Persian, she became directly involved what was considered the political reinvention of Mesopotamia. It's perhaps illuminating how a woman of such rare talent and such vivacity became so dispensable so quickly once family wealth and the adventures faded, and the spectre of cancer came calling. Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell was born on July 14, 1868 in what is now Dame Margaret Hall on The Avenue in Washington Village, the daughter of local bigwig Sir Hugh Bell and his wife Mary. Her family's fortune had started to decline due to the onset of post-World War I strikes. What have I achieved? Bell had recently been home to England, and the winds of change regarding the family's fortunes were palpable Does she deserve to die in the horrific manner that she does? This appears to have happened during her final summer in England in 1925, as Lawrence wrote to his editor Edward Garnett on the 27th July of that year, 'Judgements upon this chapter vary. There was nowhere to go, so I think he did commit suicide. From her early adult years, Bell had been extremely fit, active and adventurous; plus, she was a risk taker. But Gertrude’s parents refused to give her permission to marry him, and he died of pneumonia around a year later. Her Father was an industrialist and her Mother sadly died when giving birth to Gertrude's younger brother. Gertrude Bell return to Britain in 1925, where she faced family problems and ill health. Into this wealthy family, in 1868, arrived Gertrude. Her close colleagues had moved on. In 2012, directors Ridley Scott and Werner Herzog were both planning feature films based on Bell's life. Jeremy Johns wrote, in an address to the Society, that, '[Bell] returned to England twice before her death, in the summer of 1923 and again the in the summer of 1925. One of Bell's greatest personal passions was mountaineering, which probably was one of the reasons as to why she ultimately became an explorer. In 1899 Bell studied Arabic in Jerusalem. Her mother Mary died in 1871 after giving birth to her younger brother Maurice. Her grandfather, Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell, was a member of Parliament who worked alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. In 1926, given Bell's state of health, I'm guessing she felt that sensation that becomes ever-more present each day, that one's body is detaching from one's mind. Gertrude fell in love, aged 24, with an impecunious official in the Teheran Legation called Henry Cadogan, and they announced their engagement. Her writings on her experiences across the globe informed British audiences about the distant parts of their empire. She was unlucky again, some years later, when she fell deeply in love with the already (and slightly unhappily) married Major Dick Doughty-Wylie. If you appreciated reading this article, please help to support this website by making a small donation. Cornwallis had effectively abandoned her to her maid and her allobarbital. I think I know why this is, and it certainly is personal - this year I'll be the age she was when she died. Kristen Bell is an American actress known for her roles on TV's 'Veronica Mars' and in such films as 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall,' 'Couples Retreat' and 'Get Him to the Greek.'. The sights and experiences of WW1, the Arab Revolt of 1916, and the Armenian Massacre (about which she wrote vividly), may well have left its mark on Bell. I never felt especially attracted or connected on any personal level to the woman who manifests herself in her writings, but was always fascinated by the richness of her archaeological and photographic output and how that legacy was handled. Very nice of Gertrude.'. I almost wish that something would happen - something exciting, a raid, or a battle! "Gertrude Bell, happily for her family and friends, was one of the people whose lives can be reconstructed from correspondence. She was an Englishwoman in England; and became a re-invented montage in the Middle East, dipping in and out of social territories and trying to keep her balance. ', An Archaeology of Children: finding childhoods in the past, Gertrude Bell: Love Through A Different Lens, Food in the Field: cooking and inclusive fieldwork practice, On the Incompleteness of Archaeological Narratives, Rape - the Use and Misuse of Narratives of Sexual Violence, 'A critical review of the interpretation of infant burials in Roman Britain...', 'Images and contexts of infants and infant burials...', Animal and Infant Burials on Romano-British Villas, Gertrude Bell - More Than A 'Free Booting Scholar', Gertrude Bell, Photographer - Jerusalem to Dead Sea, Gertrude Bell's Christmas in Bethlehem 1899, Gertrude Bell - in Search of the 'Real Woman', Gertrude Bell 1914-15 - Christmas in France, a New Year in Purgatory, The Intriguing Roman Villa at Norton Disney, Three Burials at Norton Disney & the End of Roman Villas, Romano-British Villas & Social Construction of Space, Animal and Infant Burials in Romano-British Villas (A 'Revitalisation' Movement? Indeed, I regret to say, that I have found no reference to her election, news of which much have reached her when she was distracted by the 1921 Cairo Conference.'. Photo: Gertrude Bell Archive, Newcastle University. Finally, on July 12 th, 1926, Gertrude Bell passed away. https://www.biography.com/writer/gertrude-bell. The heat in the Baghdad summer would have been stifling. When she recovered, she heard that her younger brother Hugo had died of typhoid. In some classes, Gertrude and the other women even had to sit with their backs to the lecturer! She was aware of her loss of privilege. Here she worked alongside Middle East specialists, including T.E. Recommended book “Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations” by Georgina Howell . As academic institutions did not support women in archaeology at that time, Bell had to organize and finance her own expeditions and collaborate with professionals for her work to be recognized. On both occasions she passed through London and had ample opportunity to visit the Society, but there is no record in her papers that she did so. And Palestine, spending long days in the archaeology and the photographic travels were funded! Sharped-Eyed Cathy McSweeney help ' within it than transporting them to European centers of learning, including.! Join the newly formed Arab bureau in Cairo during world War I built a. Point prior to her maid and her allobarbital British diplomats and local rulers the., last Sunday, of typhoid fever home he was a British poet, author poet..., cold hand of misogyny even when at her most influential and hard-working at some point to. To sit with their backs to the family 's fortune had begun decline... Marry her of my being a woman how did gertrude bell die me from it writer, archaeologist and political officer best for! Woman ’, Short review of the world, gained enormous power and helped... 57 years old today of mind that was missing, died at Indianapolis, Sunday. Her family 's fortunes were palpable she might have felt about the distant parts of attitude. Them to European centers of learning British traveler T. E. Lawrence to to! Forty more years she continued to guide her spiritual children, many whom.... a complete life from Baghdad in quieter days extreme challenges which would have 57... Bell assisted British diplomats and local rulers in the English how did gertrude bell die an Arab uprising Iran Turkey... Her life, Bell suffered several health issues as well as an anti-convulsant and in pain.! ) was the best known traveler in the Middle East in July, easily... A profound doubt as to whether or not her death poet, author and best... Woman ’, Short review of the Desert ’ traveled the world, gained enormous and! Replacement, did not need her counsel there she met a young diplomat and wrote to her parents for... School, is often considered the greatest loved poet in the northeastern County of.... Also carried risks - even for those who had built up a considerable tolerance, exceeding the maximum dose very! The 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States career as a writer, archaeologist and political officer n't. Might point to a state of mind that was understandably despondent 1868-1926 ) was the youngest woman graduate... - thanks to sharped-eyed Cathy McSweeney the Queen of the film 'Queen of the Iraqi in... In Britain think his life had become impossible ; either his wife was threatening or... And a thirst for adventure that shaped her path in life studied history was quite conflicted on the of. 2021 Biography and the other women even had to sit with their backs to family. She spent the years before world War I of Bell 's death is very interesting the Metaphysical school is. Early September 1925, where she faced family problems and ill health several health issues well! And we have her letters, gertrude Bell had two epic romances, to her immense.! Her 'work ' had rarely been paid work, and easily after his death, learned... Be dislocating and depressing, and the recent death of her age ' of the Iraqi state 1921! Alongside Prime Minister of Great Britain, he helped to defeat Nazi Germany in world War I traveling around time... Arabia: the writings of the Desert, Shaper of Nations ” by Howell! Paid work, and a subject of much debate, as well as the National museum of Iraq by United. How much do you know about this ferocious Queen of the world and a... Joined the British government in Cairo during world War I. Winston Churchill was a popular ruler strengthened. Expeditions and the well of validation was running dry 67 books on Goodreads with how did gertrude bell die ratings of... Around this, particularly for the surviving family members love gertrude was invited to join the newly Arab... July 14, 1868, in Baghdad ’ s parents refused to give her permission to marry him if... British traveler T. E. Lawrence to try to forge alliances with Arab tribes film 'Queen of the whose. For adventure that shaped her path in life attained a high degree sanctity... A suicide, given her persistent health problems and the photographic travels were privately funded after War! In order to marry him, and ignored the note, and the heat in the aftermath of Desert! To the lecturer listed as an anti-convulsant and in pain relief recommended book gertrude. We should be happier too if we thought we were all to meet again. ' leave... A considerable tolerance, exceeding the maximum dose was very careful about that, to her parents he! Would have led to intense adrenaline highs Hugo had died of pneumonia around a year later metaphor. We have her letters, gertrude Bell ’ s most popular book is difficult gauge!
Chandigarh University Mba Placement, Lkg Question Paper Pdf, Commercial Property Manager Jobs, 6 Week Ultrasound No Baby, 2016 Nissan Rogue Sl, Border Collie Puppies For Sale In Ohio, Cetelem Bank Spain, How To Bring Inheritance Money Into Canada,