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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Tackling Africa: the resourceful mrs. J. Theodore Bent
Author:Brisch, GeraldISNI
Periodical:African Research and Documentation (ISSN 0305-862X)
Geographic term:Africa
biographies (form)
conference papers (form)
About persons:Mabel Virginia Anna Bent
James Theodore Bent (1852-1897)ISNI
Abstract:This paper is based on a presentation given on 2 July 2014 at the SCOLMA conference in Birmingham. The paper introduces Mabel Bent (1847-1929), wife of the British explorer Theodore Bent (1852-1897) and author of the 'Chronicles'. The Chronicles are notebooks documenting the African expeditions which she and her husband undertook during some 20 months between 1885 and 1896. Mabel came from a family of wealthy Anglo-Irish landowners and married Theodore Bent in 1877. After explorations in Italy, Greece and Turkey, the couple made their first journey to Africa, visiting Egypt in 1885. Their most significant trips to Africa follow later: in 1891 to Mashonaland, exploring the ruins of Great Zimbabwe; in 1893 to Abyssinia, where they study the early monuments of the lost kingdoms of Aksum; and in 1896, in search of - inter alia - goldworks along the Sudanese coast. Items collected by the Bents during their travels are exhibited in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and in the British Museum. The archives of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) hold several documents, including maps, drawings, photographs (Mabel was a pioneer field photographer) and handwritten notes of lectures by Theodore. In 2013, letters written by Mabel to her Irish family were added to the Bent-collection at RGS. Kew Botanical Gardens has specimens of plants collected by the couple. Watercolours by Theodore, depicting scenes in Mashonaland, are stored in the National Archives in Harare. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]