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Mary Henrietta Kingsley (1862-1900), Traveller and writer

Sitter in 1 portrait
An explorer who greatly influenced European ideas about Africa, Kingsley's ethnographical studies drew attention to the importance of looking at West African societies from the inside out. Kingsley began travelling after the death of her parents, financing herself by carrying cloth that she traded for rubber and ivory. She also collected insect, shell, plant, reptile, and fish specimens for the British Museum, as well as studying the culture and religion of the Fang people. Her travels brought success with her books Travels in West Africa (1897) and West African Studies (1899). In 1900 she volunteered as a nurse to Boer prisoners of war, but would die of a fever only three months later.

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Mary Henrietta Kingsley

by Arthur King
photogravure, 1900
NPG x19155