S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Kolbe*, Mrs Isabella Maria (plant collection)

Born: 1830, Cape Colony, South Africa.
Died: 1893, Cape Town, South Africa.

Isabella M. Elliott, daughter of Reverend William Elliott*, married Reverend Friedrich Wilhelm Kolbe, missionary and Herero scholar, in Cape Town in 1849. Their son, Monsignor F.C. Kolbe*, later became an important scholar and naturalist. Isabella and her husband left Cape Town in January 1850 and in April that year settled at Okahandja, in present Namibia. In August that year Jonker Afrikaner and his troops attacked the Hereros and the Kolbes fled to Otjikango. They remained there until 1852, when they moved to the Cape Colony and resided at George (1853 to 1856), Paarl (to 1877), Stellenbosch (to 1879) and then in Cape Town for the rest of their lives.

Isabella sent plants from Schmelen's Hope and Gross-Barmen, both near Okahandja, to W.H. Harvey* in Dublin, Ireland. He acknowledged them in the preface to Volume 2 of the Flora Capensis (1862) as coming from Miss Elliott, but corrected this to Mrs Kolbe in Volume 3 (1865).

List of sources:
Dictionary of South African biography, Vol. 5 (F.W. Kolbe). Pretoria: HSRC, 1987.

Gunn, M. & Codd, L.E. Botanical exploration of southern Africa. Cape Town: Balkema, 1981.

Harvey, W.H. & Sonder, O.W. Flora Capensis, being a systematic description of the plants of the Cape Colony, Caffraria, and Port Natal (Vol. 2 and 3). Ashford, Kent: Lovell Reeve, 1894 (originally published in 1862 and 1865).

Compiled by: C. Plug