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Sheldon, May French (1847–1936)

Sheldon, May French (1847–1936)

American explorer and traveler. Born May French, May 10, 1847, in Bridgewater, PA; died 1936 in London, England; dau. of Colonel Joseph French (civil engineer) and Elizabeth J. Poorman French; educated in NY and Italy; m. Eli Lemon Sheldon (US banker and publisher in London), 1876 (died 1892).

Managed own publishing company, Saxon and Co., and published novel Herbert Severence (1889); traveled alone to Africa (1891), the 1st white woman to visit parts of eastern and central Africa; made several descents to Lake Chala, a volcanic crater on the side of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and punted its unexplored waters; elected fellow of Royal Geographic Society (1892); made safari to Belgian Congo (1894); conducted research in Congo and raised money in US for Belgian Red Cross during WWI, for which she was made Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Couronne by King Albert of Belgium; also wrote Sultan to Sultan: Adventures Among the Masai and Other Tribes of East Africa (1892).

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