Mary Edith Durham was born in 1863 in London, daughter of a surgeon. Educated at Bedford College and at the Royal Academy of Arts, she worked as an artist and illustrator. However, in the late 1890s, she became ill and depressed and was prescribed travel. Sailing to Montenegro, she was captivated by Balkan life and culture. Thereafter she travelled extensively in the region and began systematically to study its history and languages, with a view to understanding the customs and manners of each area. She published several books, including Through the lands of the Serb (1904), The Burden of the Balkans (1905), and High Albania (1909). In particular, she championed the cause of the Albanians, becoming secretary of the Anglo-Albanian Society (later Association), launched in 1918. Ill-health ended her travels in 1921, but she continued to publish and was active on the Council of the Royal Anthropological Institute.
From the guide to the The Edith Durham Balkan Collection, c.1919-1927, (University of Bradford)
Mary Edith Durham attended Bedford College and the Royal Academy of Arts. She exhibited at the Royal Academy and provided illustrations for the reptiles volume of the Cambridge Natural History. A Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, she was also a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and published a number of books, mainly on the Balkans
From the guide to the Correspondence on Balkan affairs by Mary Edith Durham, with related papers, 1923-1945, (GB 206 Leeds University Library)