One of Scotland’s first female geographers, Dr. Marion Newbigin was presented with The David Livingstone Medal in 1923. Born in Alnwick to a family of four sisters and three brothers, Marion, along with her sisters, were lifelong supporters of the women's suffrage movement. The fact that universities did not admit women did not deter her and two of her sisters from holding strong academic positions. Marion took courses at Edinburgh Association for the university education of women, eventually moving to London University. In 1893, Newbigin achieved a BSc. and five years later a Ph.D.
In 1902, Marion was employed as editor of the Scottish Geographical Magazine. She held that position until her death. During her 32 years as editor, Newbigin helped shape the academic discipline of geography as it first took shape.
Marion Newbigin’s most prominent work was ‘Animal Geography’ in 1913 and other books on the same subject. Her work diversified into political geography, travel and cartography. She was awarded the present medal in 1923 "for her numerous contributions to geographical science, based largely on her own observations".
The Livingstone Medal is awarded by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in recognition of outstanding public service in which geography has played an important part. Only 68 Livingstone Medals have been awarded since it was introduced 118 years ago by Mrs Bruce in memory of her father, the legendary Scottish explorer, Dr David Livingstone. Recipients of the medal include Scott of the Antarctic, Neil Armstrong, Sir David Attenborough, HRH The Princess Royal, Annie Lennox, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Michael Palin.
The majority of the proceeds of the sale of this medal are being donated to The Royal Scottish Geographical Society.