Ishbel Maria Gordon, Marchioness of Aberdeen

Marchioness of Aberdeen and Taimar, Lady Aberdeen
Other names: 
née Marjoribanks
born 14 March 1857, died 18 April 1939

A philanthropist and campaigner for women’s occupational, social and political rights, Lady Aberdeen was the daughter of Isabella Hogg, and Sir Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, MP. She was born in London but moved to Haddo House in Aberdeenshire after marrying John Gordon, 7th Earl of Aberdeen. Haddo was their main home, but the Earl was appointed to government posts in both Ireland and Canada, so they spent much time in both countries.

In all three places, Lady Aberdeen initiated and supported numerous societies and organisations to benefit women in particular, including the Aberdeen Ladies’ Union (1883), which provided educational and recreational facilities for working girls, and, in Canada, the Aberdeen Association and the Victorian Order of Nurses. In Ireland, she pioneered the Women’s National Health Association, a mother-and-child welfare organisation. She supported universal suffrage and was president for some years of the International Council of Women. In Scotland, she played a vital role in securing the ordination of women to the Church of Scotland ministry.

She and her husband retired to the House of Cromar in Aberdeenshire, and after her husband’s death Lady Aberdeen moved to Aberdeen where she died in 1939.

The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women
Entry on Ishbel Maria Gordon by Marjory Harper