Ishbel Maria Hamilton-Gordon, Marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair, GBE, lived from 15 March 1857 to 18 April 1939. She was a strong supporter of women's rights. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Ishbel Maria Marjoribanks was the third daughter of Dudley Marjoribanks, 1st Baron Tweedmouth, and Isabella Weir-Hogg. On 7 November 1877 she married John Hamilton-Gordon, 7th Earl of Aberdeen, in St George's Church, Hanover Square, London. The Earls of Aberdeen owned large estates in Aberdeenshire and their ancestral home was Haddo House. Ishbel and John had four surviving children, the eldest of whom, George, who was born in 1879, would later inherit the estates and title. In 1916 John Hamilton-Gordon was promoted within the Peerage to become 1st Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair.
Ishbel accompanied her husband when he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1886. In 1890 they went on a world tour together, and fell in love with Canada. She went with Lord Aberdeen when he subsequently served as Governor General of Canada from 1893 to 1898, and (again) when he served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1905 to 1915.
From 1893 to 1898, Ishbel was President of the National Council of Women of Canada. She also became President of the International Council of Women, a post she remained in until 1936. While in Canada she also founded the Victorian Order of Nurses for Canada and was its first President. While Lord Aberdeen was serving in Ireland, Ishbel launched the Woman's National Health Association in an attempt to tackle tuberculosis. In 1931, Ishbel presented a petition to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland calling for women to be ordained as ministers and have access to all other posts in the Kirk. The commission which resulted acceded to some of her requests: it took until 1996 for all of them to be met.
In 1894 Ishbel was granted the Freedom of Limerick. The Freedom of Edinburgh followed in 1928 and she was made a Dame Grand Cross in the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1931. Various streets and bridges in Canada are named "Aberdeen" after Ishbel or her husband. She was also awarded an honourary degree by Queen's University in Canada, the first time a woman had been given such an award by a Canadian university. Ishbel Hamilton-Gordon died in 1939 at the age of 82.