Blogs > Cliopatria > The Gertrude Bell Project

Jul 7, 2006 1:16 pm

The Gertrude Bell Project

Gertrude Bell, born in England in 1868 and educated at Oxford, spent much of her life traveling and recording her travels through photographs, diaries, and letters. She made two around-the-world voyages, hiked the Alps, and after 1900, spent much of her time traveling through the Arab world.

This well-organized and easy-to-use website presents transcriptions of her 1,600 letters and her 16 diaries covering the events of 21 years, as well as virtually all 7,000 photographs from her travels c. 1900-1918. The photographs focus especially on Bell's Middle Eastern travels and include several hundred from her time in Turkey. Her photographs of archaeological sites from the Middle East “are of great value because they record structures which have since been eroded or, in some cases, have disappeared altogether, while those of the desert tribes are of considerable anthropological and ethnographical interest.” The diary entries and letters begin before Bell is ten years old and continue until 1919 and 1926, respectively, showing her progression from a child to a student to a seasoned world traveler. The site also has a keyword search of the photographs, diary entries, letters, or the complete collection.

This site offers a wealth of fascinating primary source material for those researching Gertrude Bell, women travelers, or women’s history at the turn of the century.

Read a more in-depth review written by University of Sydney professor Kirsten McKenzie at Or explore other world history website reviews at World History Sources—Finding World History.

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