Historical records matching Fanny Bullock Workman
About Fanny Workman (Bullock)
Fanny Bullock Workman (January 8, 1859 - January 22, 1925) was an American geographer, cartographer, explorer, travel writer, and mountaineer, notably in the Himalayas. She was one of the first female professional mountaineers; she not only explored but also wrote about her adventures. She achieved several women's altitude records, published eight travel books with her husband, and championed women's rights and women's suffrage. Born to a wealthy family, Workman was educated in the finest schools available to women and traveled in Europe. Her marriage to William Hunter Workman cemented these advantages, and, after being introduced to climbing in New Hampshire, Fanny traveled the world with William. They were able to capitalize on her wealth and connections to travel extensively around Europe, north Africa, and Asia. The couple had two children, but Fanny was not a motherly type; they left their children in schools and with nurses, and Fanny saw herself as a New Woman who could equal any man. The Workmans began their journeys with bicycle tours of Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Algeria and India. They cycled thousands of miles, sleeping wherever they could find shelter. They wrote books about each trip, with Fanny frequently commenting on the state of women's lives that she saw. These early books about their bicycling tours were quite popular. At the end of their cycling trip to India, they escaped to the Himalaya for the summer months and fell in love with climbing in the mountains. They returned to this unexplored region eight times over the next 14 years.
Despite not having modern climbing equipment, the Workmans explored several glaciers and summited several mountains, eventually reaching 23,000 feet (7,000 m), a women's altitude record. They organized multiyear expeditions but struggled to remain on good terms with the local labor force. Coming from a position of American wealth, they failed to understand the position of the native workers and struggled to find and negotiate for reliable porters.
After their trips to the Himalaya, the Workmans gave lectures about their travels. They were invited to learned societies and Fanny became the first woman to lecture at the Sorbonne and the second to speak at the Royal Geographical Society. She received many medals of honor for European climbing and geographical societies and was recognized as one of the foremost climbers of her day. She demonstrated that a woman could climb in high altitudes just as well as a man and helped break down the gender barrier in mountaineering.