Amelia Ann Blanford Edwards (1831-1892),
English author and Egyptologist, the daughter of one of Wellington's officers, was born in
London on the 7th of June 1831. At a very early age she displayed considerable literary
and artistic talent. She became a contributor to various magazines and newspapers, and
besides many miscellaneous works she wrote eight novels, the most successful of which were
Debenham's Vow (1870) and Lord Brackenbury (1880).
In the winter of 1873-1874 she visited Egypt, and was profoundly impressed by
the new openings for archaeological research. She learnt the hieroglyphic characters, and
made a considerable collection of Egyptian antiquities.
In 1877 she published A Thousand Miles up the
Nile, with illustrations by herself (see her painting of Philae, below, from the south; and a bio and
images on the Theban Mapping Project
Convinced that only by proper scientific investigations could the wholesale
destruction of Egyptian antiquities be avoided, she devoted herself to arousing public
opinion on the subject, and ultimately, in 1882, was largely instrumental in founding the
Egypt Exploration Fund, of which she became joint honorary secretary with Reginald Stuart
Poole. For the business of this fund she abandoned her other literary work, writing only
on Egyptology. In 1889-1890 she went on a lecturing tour in the United States.
The substance of her lectures was published in volume form in 1891 as Pharaohs,
Fellahs, and Explorers. (See her excerpts here as Rameses'
She died at Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, on the 15th of April 1892, bequeathing
her valuable collection of Egyptian antiquities to University College, London, together
with a sum to found a chair of Egyptology. Miss Edwards received, shortly before her
death, a civil pension from the British government.
Encyclopedia Britannica A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General
Information, Volume IX, Cambridge, England, University Press 1910.