Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Barbara Washburn

Barbara Washburn

Born in Roxbury, Massachusetts and growing up in the Boston area, Barbara Polk Washburn was the first woman to climb Mount McKinley (now Denali ) in 1947 when she accompanied her husband, Bradford, and his climbing partners on their expedition. Barbara graduated from Smith College and held various secretarial positions around Boston, including at Harvard University where she met explorer and adventurer, Brad Washburn. She then went to work for Brad at Boston's Museum of Science. They married in 1940, honeymooned in Alaska, and eventually had three children. Since Barbara had always been physically active and enjoyed the outdoors, she began to join Brad on his adventures, including to Alaska. Barbara became an inspiration to women adventurers following in her pioneering footsteps. Barbara Washburn died in 2014 at age 99. To learn more about Barbara Washburn, see her obituary in the Boston Globe newspaper or her book: The Accidental Adventurer: Memoirs of the First Woman to Climb Mount McKinley.

 

 

Date of Birth:
Nov 10, 1914
Date of Death:
Sep 25, 2014
Barbara Washburn appears in the following new Jukebox projects: