Mary KingsleyMary H. Kingsley
English Traveller, Ethnologist, Author
1862- 1900 A.D.

Mary Henrietta Kingsley, an English traveller [sic], ethnologist and author, daughter of George H. Kingsley, and niece to Charles Kingsley.

In her studies she was early attracted to natural history, and at Cambridge she studied the science of sociology. The loss of both parents in 1892 left her free to pursue her own course, and she resolved to study native religion and law in West Africa with a view to completing a book which her father left unfinished.

She made two trips to the West Coast, and visited parts hitherto untrodden by Europeans. After a series of adventures and hair-breadth escapes from the cannibals and the dangers of land and water, she returned to England in 1895, and later published Travels in West Africa. The book aroused wide interest, and she lectured to scientific gatherings on the fauna, flora and folklore of West Africa, and to commercial audiences on the trade of that region and its possibilities.

Her chief concern was for the development of the negro on African, not European, lines and for the government of the British possessions by methods which left the native “a free unsmashed [sic] man – not a whitewashed slave or an enemy.”

With undaunted energy Miss Kingsley made preparations for a third journey, but the Anglo-Boer damaged her plans, and she decided to go first to South Africa to nurse fever cases. While engaged in tending Boer prisoners at Simon’s Town, she died of enteric fever.


Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.

Quote by Mary Kingsley