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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Isabella Bishop

b. 1831, Boroughbridge, Yorkshire, England; d. 1904, Edinburgh

In 1892, world traveler and writer Isabella Bishop became the first woman to be inducted into the Royal Geographical Society. Sickly as a child and therefore often housebound, Bishop discovered her passion for travel when her father, a vicar in the Church of England, gave her £100, which she used to visit relatives in America. The experience gave rise to her first book, The Englishwoman in America, published anonymously in 1856. Writing supported her travels and she published numerous books and articles throughout her life. Beginning her almost nonstop travels in earnest in 1872, she effectively circled the globe three times. A trip to Colorado—then the newest state in America—served as the inspiration for A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains (1879), her third and perhaps most famous book.