Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

Gertrude Elles gained worldwide renown for her seminal work with Ethel Wood on A Monograph of British Graptolites, which is still used today. She gained the MBE, pioneered female geological education, became the first female reader in Cambridge University and one of the first tranche of female Fellows of the Geological Society in 1919. An eccentric with a vast array of hats, PhD students and lodgers, she was a stalwart member of the Sedgwick Club and life member of the British Federation of University Women. She wrote obituaries for colleagues describing their achievements with humour and good nature. Her family describe her as ‘a fabulous woman’ with a huge range of interests including archaeology, botany and music. She related her geological and botanical knowledge in showing a nephew that plants growing along the Moine Thrust reflected change in the underlying rocks. Cambridge colleagues recall her as a ‘marvellous and well-respected figure’ who caused some amusement by her big old cluttered table from which she swept away material making room for new samples (and work for technicians). She died in 1960 in her beloved Scotland. However, her legacy survives in the classification of a group of fossils extinct for nearly 400 myr.

You do not have access to this content, please speak to your institutional administrator if you feel you should have access.
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal