[Born : 29 - 03 - 1840]

Isabella Thoburn (1840–1901) was an American Christian missionary of the Methodist Episcopal Church best known for her establishment of educational institutions and missionary work in North India, subsequent to East India Company relinquishing power to British government in India.


She was born March 29, 1840, near St. Clairsville, Ohio, U.S. died September 1, 1901, Lucknow, India.

She was an American missionary to India whose work in education there, culminated in the founding of an important woman’s college, Isabella Thoburn College in Lucknow and Methodist High School in Kanpur. These two educational establishments were amongst the first in colonial India, catering to educational and religious needs of emergent Anglo Indian population in Awadh.

Thoburn attended local schools in United States and the Wheeling Female Seminary in Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia). In 1866, after she had taught for several years, Isabella was invited by her brother James Mills Thoburn, a [Methodist Episcopal] [missionary in India], to join and assist him, in his educational and missionary work in India. She delayed her departure until 1869, when the formation of the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church enabled her to undertake missionary work under denominational affiliation and auspices.