Gertrude Emerson Sen

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Gertrude Emerson Sen
BornMay 6, 1890

Gertrude Emerson Sen (6 May 1890[1]–1982) was an early 20th-century expert on Asia and a founding member of the Society of Woman Geographers. She was the daughter of Alfred Emerson, Sr., the granddaughter of Deborah Hall, married to Samuel D. Ingham, Secretary of the Treasury (1829–31) under US President Andrew Jackson.[1]:201 She was also the sister of famed entomologist Alfred E. Emerson.

Some have stated that she was the granddaughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson.[2]

After teaching English in Japan, Sen returned to the United States to become the editor of Asia magazine. In 1920 she undertook a round-the-world expedition which included stunt flying and caving. Eventually she settled in a village in northeastern India, participated in rural life, married Indian native Basiswar Sen on November 1, 1932, and came to love the culture of her adopted country. Her attachment is reflected in her books Voiceless India (1930) and Pageant of India's History (1948). Although not born in India herself, she strongly disapproved on the involvement of non-Indians in subcontinental matters. Sen died in 1982, aged 89.

Dr. Basishwar Sen was a scientist and one of the favorite students of legendary scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose. He was also a very close associate of Swami Vivekananda, Sister Nivedita.


  • Girish N. Mehra, Nearer Heaven Than Earth—The Life and Times of Boshi Sen and Gertrude Emerson Sen, foreword by M.S. Swami. New Delhi: Rupa & Co., 2007.


  1. ^ a b B. N. Tandon (2007). "Untitled [review of Nearer Heaven than Earth: The Life and Times of Boshi Sen and Gertrude Emerson Sen, by Girish Mehra]". Indian Literature. Sahitya Akademi. 51 (3 (239)): 199–203. ISSN 0019-5804. JSTOR 23340474.
  2. ^ Haberman, David L. (1 July 1993). "A cross‐cultural adventure: The transformation of Ronald Nixon". Religion. Routledge. 23 (3): 217–227. doi:10.1006/reli.1993.1020. ISSN 0048-721X.

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