Isabella Thoburn College

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Coordinates: 26°52′18″N 80°56′32″E / 26.87167°N 80.94222°E / 26.87167; 80.94222

The Isabella Thoburn College, formerly the Lucknow Women's College and often called informally IT College, is a college for women in Lucknow, India, named after its founder, Isabella Thoburn, an American missionary of the Methodist Episcopal Church.


The origin of the college was in a school for girls opened by Isabella Thoburn on 18 April 1870 in one room in the city-centre bazaar of Aminabad. There were then just six girls. By 1871, the school had expanded and moved to occupy a house named Lal Bagh, which had been lived in by the treasurer of the last Nawab of Awadh.[1][2]

On 12 July 1886 Miss Thoburn's school was renamed as the Lucknow Women's College and began to teach Fine Arts classes under the supervision of the University of Calcutta. In 1894, this connection was abandoned in favour of a new one with Allahabad University. Following the death of Miss Thoburn in 1901, the College, still at Lal Bagh, was given its present name in her honour. In 1923, it moved to the Chand Bagh estate of almost 32 acres, where it has remained until the present day.[1] Chand Bagh means "Moon Garden". The property was once a royal garden.[3]

The college's Principal Sarah Chakko (1905–1954) was the first woman president of the World Council of Churches.

Present day[edit]

The College is now affiliated to Lucknow University. The buildings it has developed on the Chand Bagh campus since the 1920s include student hostels, lecture rooms, laboratories, a library, a college chapel and a large hall.[1] The college teaches five undergraduate courses, leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Education (BEd), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), and Bachelor of Library and Information Science (BLISc). There are also postgraduate courses leading to the degrees of Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MSc).[4]


  • Isabella Thoburn
  • Sarah Chakko
  • Dr. Shipstone
  • Dr. Kamala D Edwards
  • Ms. Mary Abraham
  • Dr. Adella Paul
  • Dr E. S. Charles
  • Primrose H. Bodhan
  • Dr.Vinita Prakash (Present)

Former students[edit]

  • Martha Chen (born 1944), American academic, lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School
  • Attia Hosain (1913–1998), feminist author and broadcaster[5][6]
  • Ismat Chugtai ((August 1915 – 24 October 1991) Eminent Indian Writer in Urdu[7]
  • Qurratulain Hyder (1928–2007), novelist
  • Isha Basant Joshi (born 1908), first female officer of the Indian Administrative Service and author
  • Bina Rai (1936–2009), actress
  • Vijayaraje Scindia (1919–2001), politician, consort of the last ruling Maharaja of Gwalior
  • Ma Prem Usha, clairvoyant and columnist[8]
  • Priya Bhatia, Eminent teaching personality
  • Padmashri Dr Mohini Giri, first chairperson of National Commission for Women in India [9]
  • Late Isha B Joshi, first woman to be an IAS, pen name Easha Joshi[10]
  • Late Mumtaz Jahan Haider, founder principal of Women's College in Aligarh
  • Dr. Crystal David John - Studied and Taught Economics here. Was the head of the Department of Economics in this college. She is currently the Head of the Department of Economics at Stella Maris College (Autonomous) Chennai 600086
  • Niharika Singh Jadaun, Creative Director-Television, Founder-'Vyaktitva' & Vice President-Janhit Society(2000-2003)
  • Manjari mukul..working as creative head in television shows..(2000-2002)
  • Deepa singh..have acted in many television shows..(2000-2002)

Commemorative stamp[edit]

On 12 April 2012 the Government of India issued a new five rupee postage stamp illustrating the College.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c College History at, accessed 22 April 2012
  2. ^ Jaya Indiresan, Education for women's empowerment: gender-positive initiatives in pace-setting women's colleges (2002), p. 270: "ISABELLA THOBURN COLLEGE, LUCKNOW History and Ethos This college was founded by Ms. Isabella Thoburn, in whose memory it has been named. It was started as a school in 1870 and has been functioning as a college for over a century now."
  3. ^ Qurratulain Ḥaidar, The sound of falling leaves: award-winning Urdu short stories (1994), p. 25
  4. ^ Courses Offered at, accessed 22 April 2012
  5. ^ Anita Desai, ‘Hosain, Attia Shahid (1913–1998)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004)
  6. ^ Growing Up in Gadia: Attia Hosain interviewed in London on May 19, 1991 at, accessed 22 April 2012
  7. ^
  8. ^ Neeta Lal, 'Cashing in on Clairvoyance' in Khaleej Times dated 25 July 2008
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Stamps of India – Isabella Thoburn College, Lucknow – By India Post at, accessed 26 April 2012

Further reading[edit]

  • Marjorie A. Dimmitt, Isabella Thoburn College: A Record from its Beginnings to its Diamond Jubilee (World Outlook Press, 1961)