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Lady Isabel Galloway Emslie Hutton CBE (née Isabel Galloway Emslie; 1887–11 January 1960) was a Scottish medical doctor who specialised in mental health and social work.[1] She was married to British military officer Lt General Sir Thomas Jacomb Hutton.


Isabel Emslie Hutton

portrait of Isabel Galloway Emslie Hutton
Isabel Galloway Emslie Hutton
Isabel Galloway Emslie

1887 (1887)
Died11 January 1960 (aged 72–73)
EducationUniversity of Edinburgh
Known forMedical work during World War I
Order of the White Eagle (Serbia)
Order of St. Sava
Croix de Guerre
Order of St. Anna
Serbian postage stamp in her honour (2015)
RelativesMajor Thomas Hutton (husband) (married 1921)
Medical career
Professionphysician, psychiatrist
InstitutionsRoyal Edinburgh Hospital
Notable worksWassermann sero-diagnosis of syphilis in 200 cases of insanity
With a Woman's Unit in Serbia, Salonika and Sebastopol
Mental Disorders in Modern Life
Memoirs of a Doctor in War and Peace



She was born Isabel Galloway Emslie in Edinburgh in 1887, the eldest daughter of James Emslie, advocate and Deputy Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland. She was educated at Edinburgh Ladies' College. She enrolled at the University of Edinburgh and trained in the women's medical school, spending her hospital residence years at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. In 1910 she graduated with a degree in medicine and, in 1912, was awarded her MD with a thesis titled "Wassermann sero-diagnosis of syphilis in 200 cases of insanity".[2] While completing her thesis she worked as a pathologist at the Stirling District Asylum, and then moved to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children before becoming the first woman to be appointed in charge of the women medicine of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.

In 1915 she joined the Scottish Women's Hospitals Organisation and served in France (Domaine de Chanteloup, Sainte-Savine, near Troyes) and then with the Armee d'Orient in Salonika, distinguishing herself by leading the unit which accompanied the Serbian army during the First World War.

Following the closure of the Serbian hospital where she worked, she took over Lady Muriel Paget's mission in Crimea. In this role, she brought several orphaned children to Constantinople (now Istanbul) and organised relief for Russian refugees. In 1928 she published 'With a Woman's Unit in Serbia, Salonika and Sebastopol', an account of these years.[3]

For her work during this period she was awarded the Serbian orders of the White Eagle and St. Sava, the French Croix de Guerre, and the Order of St. Anna of Russia.[4]

On her return to Edinburgh in 1920, she was reinstated to her former post at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital but resigned the position after her marriage the following year to Major Thomas Hutton.[1] She then moved to London, working as a researcher the Maudsley Hospital which led to a research paper with Sir Frederick Mott, and honorary consultancies at the Maudsley and the West End Hospital for Nervous Disease. In 1940 she published 'Mental Disorders in Modern Life', drawing on her experience from these roles.[5]

The grave of Isabel Emslie Hutton, Grange Cemetery

She moved to India in 1938 and undertook charity work, broadcasting and dispatches for the external affairs department, taking up the role of director of the Indian Red Cross welfare service, before returning to England in 1946. In 1948 she received a CBE.

After becoming a senior consultant psychiatrist, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and a member of the Royal Medico-Psychological Association.

She died on 11 January 1960 and was buried with her parents in the Grange Cemetery in south Edinburgh. The grave, sculpted by Pilkington Jackson, stands near the centre of the south-west extension.


Her autobiography, 'Memoirs of a Doctor in War and Peace' was published in 1960.[6]

Public RecognitionEdit

Hutton on a 2015 stamp of Serbia from the series "British Heroines of the First World War in Serbia".

In 2015 a Serbian postage stamp was released to honour her work during the war.[7]


  1. ^ a b McConnell, Anita (2004) "Hutton, Isabel Galloway Emslie , Lady Hutton (1887–1960)" in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/71709
  2. ^ Galloway, Emslie, Isabella (1912). "Wassermann sero-diagnosis of syphilis in 200 cases of insanity".
  3. ^ Hutton, Isabel Galloway Emslie (1 January 1928). With a Woman's Unit in Serbia, Salonika and Sebastopol. Williams.
  4. ^ "Obituary: Isabel Emslie Hutton". The Lancet. 275 (7117): 231. 23 January 1960. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(60)90161-6.
  5. ^ Hutton, Lady Isabel Emslie (1 January 1940). Mental Disorders in Modern Life, etc. (First published under the title The Last of the Taboos.).
  6. ^ Hutton, Isabel Galloway Emslie (1 January 1960). Memories of a doctor in war and peace. Heinemann.
  7. ^ "Heroic Scottish women to feature on stamps". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 17 February 2016.