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Elizabeth Hawkins-Whitshed

Elizabeth Hawkins-Whitshed (1861 - July 27, 1934) was a British pioneer of mountaineering in a time when it was almost unheard of for a woman to climb mountains. She was also an author, and a photographer of mountain scenery.

She came from an upper class background, being the daughter of Captain Sir St. Vincent Hawkins-Whitshed, Bt (1837-1871) by his wife Anne Alicia (née Handcock) (1837-1908), and further back was descended from the aristocratic Bentinck family, and was therefore related to the Dukes of Portland.

She was born in London, but grew up in County Wicklow in the south-east of Ireland, where her father owned quite a bit of land. However, her father then died, leaving no other children, while she was still a minor, and the Lord Chancellor took her on as his ward.

Elizabeth moved to Switzerland, where she climbed mountains in her skirt. In 1907, she became the first president of the Ladies Alpine Club. She wrote seven books on mountain climbing and over her lifetime climbed twenty peaks that no one had climbed before.

She married three times: firstly, in 1879, to Frederick Gustavus Burnaby (died 1885); secondly, in 1886, to John Frederick Main (died 1892); and thirdly, in 1900, to Aubrey le Blond. From her first marriage, she had a son Harry Burnaby, in 1880.

She published her autobiography in 1928.

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