Louisa Innes Lumsden
|Born||31 December 1840|
Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
|Died||2 January 1935 (aged 94)|
|Education||Girton College, Cambridge|
|Occupation||Headmistress St Leonards School (1877-82)|
|Known for||Girton pioneer. Campaigner for equality for women in education.|
|Awards||Honorary LL.D (St.A.)|
|Honours||DBE (Dame of the British Empire)|
Dame Louisa Innes Lumsden Girton College, Cambridge, she became the first Headmistress of St Leonards School, Fife, and first warden of University Hall, University of St Andrews. She is credited with introducing lacrosse to St Leonards. When Scottish suffrage organisations organised the planting of The Suffragette Oak to mark some women getting the vote in 1918, Lumsden was given the honour of planting it.(31 December 1840 – 2 January 1935) born in Aberdeen, Scotland, was a pioneer of female education. Having been a student and a tutor in classics at
Louisa was third daughter and youngest of seven children of Clements Lumsden, Aberdeen advocate and Writer to the Signet, and Jane, née Forbes. After her father's death in 1853, when she was 12, Louisa's mother moved temporarily to Cheltenham and Louisa attended a private school there, then becoming a boarder at the Château de Koekelberg, Brussels, which she left in 1856 for a smaller school in London. She returned to live with her family in Aberdeenshire in 1857.
Lumsden in 1868–1869 attended classes of the Edinburgh Ladies Education Association with lectures by University of Edinburgh professors, though women students were still not awarded full degrees.
A college for women was established by Emily Davies in 1869 in Hitchin, 27 miles from Cambridge, as the first for women students studying for the Cambridge Tripos examinations on equal terms with men. As Girton College it moved to new buildings on its present site in 1873.
Louisa Lumsden was one of the first five students to be taught at Hitchin and one of the first three female students to sit unofficial University of Cambridge Tripos examinations in Lent term 1873, the others being Rachel Cook and Sarah Woodhead. The three were commemorated in song as the Girton Pioneers.
Louisa Lumsden is recorded as a student at Girton in 1869–1872, a tutor in 1873–1874 and recipient of the Classical Tripos in 1892. She resigned her post as tutor after conflicts with Emily Davies over neglect of student welfare.
St Leonards School
The girls school founded in St Andrews, Fife, in 1877 had Louisa Lumsden for its first headmistress (1877–1882). St Leonards was the first school for young women in Scotland modelled on an English public school; the curriculum included classics, mathematics and sports. Before this Lumsden had taught classics at Cheltenham Ladies College (1876–1877). Her close friend from her Cambridge days, Constance Maynard, accompanied her from Cheltenham to St Andrews and helped to set up the school. Maynard left in 1880 to become the first principal of Westfield College (1882–1913). Lumsden resigned as head in January 1882, citing ill health. Frances Dove, who had also studied at Girton and taught at Cheltenham, replaced her.
Lumsden, in a letter home from the White Mountains in New Hampshire dated 6 September 1884, described how the Canghuwaya Indians played lacrosse against the Montreal Club in Montreal: "It is a wonderful game, beautiful and graceful. (I was so charmed with it that I introduced it at St Leonards.)" Rosabelle Sinclair, who established the first women's lacrosse team in the United States, having attended St Leonards in 1906–1910, established lacrosse for girls at the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, Maryland.
University Hall, the first residential hall for women students in Scotland, was founded at St Andrews University in 1895; Louisa Lumsden was appointed its first warden. The intention was to create a Scottish version of Girton, but it met some resistance from men and some of the female students it was intended for. Lumsden resigned her post in 1900.
In 1908 Louisa Lumsden accepted an invitation to become president of the Aberdeen Suffrage Association. She was a non-militant suffragist and provided a caravan called "Curlew", used by campaigners to travel about the country. In 1913 she spoke at a rally in Hyde Park, London, on behalf of the Scottish branch of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies and later became one of the vice-presidents of the Scottish Churches' League for Woman Suffrage. She was the one who planted The Suffragette Oak in Glasgow, which was chosen as tree of the year in 2015.
Louisa Lumsden was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws (LL.D) by St Andrews University at its Quincentenary celebrations in 1911. Under a Girton College charter, Louisa Lumsden was made a life governor in 1924. Nationally, she was created a Dame in 1925.
- Stephen, Barbara (1933). Girton College 1869-1932. Cambridge: CUP Archive. p. 185.
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- Elizabeth., Crawford (2001). The women's suffrage movement : a reference guide, 1866-1928. London: Routledge. p. 96. ISBN 0415239265. OCLC 44914288.
- A Guid Cause Maks a Strong Arm. http://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/pdfs/ws-biog.aspx: Edinburgh City Libraries. 2009. p. 50.
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- "The Lumsden Club". lumsdenclub.co.uk. Retrieved 29 September 2017.