Gertrude Bell Archive

Gertrude Bell Archive

Country  United Kingdom
Repository  Robinson Library, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4HQ, United Kingdom
Section  Inscriptions on International Register
Gender Dimension  Achievements of women in history; Stories from women's perspective
GEM  GEM 2– Gender Responsive
Description  Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) was an influential British woman who travelled widely. She was an archaeologist, writer, explorer and political agent who worked in the British administration of Iraq during the early 1920s. She had a profound impact on the modern world through her legacy in the Middle East, especially in the formation of Iraq.

The Gertrude Bell Archive covers the period c. 1871 – 1926 and is a unique source of documentary heritage dating from the late 19th and early 20th century. It consists of letters, diaries and photographs. It also contains reports, and other documents such as her Review of the Civil Administration of Mesopotamia (1920), notebooks, obituaries, lecture notes and miscellaneous reports, memoranda and cuttings.

The Archive confirms the role of Gertrude Bell as a woman of extraordinary achievement in male-dominated societies both in Europe and the Middle East during the early 20th century. Among many achievements she was instrumental in drawing up the borders of the modern state of Iraq, the choice of its first King, his coronation, Iraq’s antiquities legislation, and its first museum. It is interesting to note that despite her achievements she campaigned against votes for women.

Her personal perspective on the changes in Europe and the Ottoman Empire from before World War I until 1926, provide unparalleled documentation of the formation of the Middle East and her role in that process. The Archive also contains numerous examples of peoples, places and cultural contexts. This component of the Archive is important because many of these have now been destroyed through population transfer, ethnic cleansing and wars.

The documentary heritage was inscribed onto the Memory of the World international register in 2017.
Reference  -

- Photo credit: © Ian Johnson/Mark Jackson, Newcastle University