Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell (1868-1926) adventurer, ethnologist, cartographer, diplomat, etc. etc. etc. was born on July 14, 1868 in Washington Hall Durham County, England. In her youth she was educated at home but eventually became the first woman to obtain first-class honors at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.

In the beginning of her life she took part in the social life of London interspersed with many tours on the continent. Finally in Jerusalem she learned Arabic and became enamored of Arabic culture. The Arabs called her "Daughter of the Desert."



    Winston Churchill became the Colonial Secretary in 1921. In the same year he called for a conference to determine the future of Mesopotamia, at which she was the only woman in a group of 40 experts. The same year her recommendation placed King Faysal I on the throne as the first king of Iraq. Establishing herself as an expert in colonial administration, she published in the same year a Review of the Civil Administration in Mesopotamia. For the remaining years of her life she was Iraq's Director of Antiquities.



    A year later her papers, consisting of about 1,600 letters to her parents, 16 travel journals and 40 other items, were published as a testament to her accomplishment as an extraordinary woman of her time.