However, in 1908, Bell became the founding secretary of the Anti-Suffrage League, and for years opposed women’s right to vote. By the early 20th century, she had become increasingly involved in the archaeological and political affairs of the Middle East. In remembering Gertrude Bell, renowned archaeologist Max Mallowan commented “no tigress could have safeguarded Iraq’s rights better.”. The story will be told from the inside, with primary source materials including evocative archival footage of the period, the journals and writings of Bell and her contemporaries and her portfolio of more than 7,000 photographs. In 1925, she drafted the new progressive Law on Antiquities that formally established Iraq’s control over its vast archaeological treasures and established the Baghdad Museum. In 1915, both Bell and Lawrence were assigned to the Army Intelligence Headquarters in Cairo for war service, because of their extensive knowledge of the region and languages spoken therein. Gertrude Bell was the first woman to map Arabia, then navigated the male-dominated world of diplomacy, helping to create a new country: Iraq. Elizabeth Chandler is an Executive Producer of Letters From Baghdad, an upcoming documentary about Gertrude Bell. In 1921, Bell contributed to the construction of the Iraqi state, as well as the National Museum of Iraq. GERTRUDE Bell was an explorer, diplomat and writer born in the North East of England famed for her expeditions to Arabia. As the first female British intelligence Officer and adviser on Arabian affairs to the British government, Bell helped shape the geopolitical map of the world as it changed dramatically after World War I. Born on 14 July 1868 in Washington New Hall in County Durham, to a wealthy family whose riches ensured her education and enabled her travels. Queen Marie of Romania was an instrumental diplomatic representative of Romania at the Paris Peace Conference, and, even though she was an unofficial one, she had meetings with the likes of Clemenceau, Wilson, Poincaré etc. Academy Award winning actress Tilda Swinton narrates “Letters from Baghdad,” the true story of Gertrude Bell, sometimes referred to as the female Lawrence of Arabia. Gertrude Bell (1858–1926) was an English explorer who travelled through the Middle East. K. J. Wetherholt Bell was involved in the political negotiations that divided the Arab world into new countries and established British political influence in the Middle East. It remains a mystery, and a subject of much debate, as to whether or not her death was intentional. They ordered her home instead (the young man died nine months later). The group became the Arab Bureau, responsible for military intelligence in the Middle East. She drew the borders of Iraq, helped install its first king and established the Baghdad Museum of Antiquities which was infamously looted during the 2003 American invasion. The general line taken by the press seems to be that it’s most remarkable that a dog should be able to stand up on its hind legs at all – ie a female write a white paper. Here is everything you need to know about one of Britain's cultural icons. Our longtime editorial team member Diane Rooney is presenting her talk, "Gertrude Bell and the Great War in the Middle East" at the August meeting of the SF Bay Area Chapter of the World War 1 Historical Association. To her parents she writes: “I’ve just got Mother’s letter of Dec 15 saying there’s a fandango about my report. She wrote a book about her experiences called Persian Pictures, A Book of Travelsthat was published in 1894. Check out Letters From Baghdad for more info, and to find out how you can help. Her expertise and love of archaeology led her become a champion for Iraq. For further details of our complaints policy and to make a complaint please click this link:, Comments are subject to our community guidelines, which can be viewed, Gertrude Bell was an explorer, archaeologist and diplomat from Durham, Credit: Gertrude Bell Archive/newcastle university, Bell worked for the British government in Arabia, Credit: WARNING: Use of this image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures' Digital Picture, Her story was the feature of a 2015 film starring Nicole Kidman and James Franco, Gertrude Bell with Haji Naji, an Iraqi farmer and friend of hers, Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).