Elizabeth Ann Yates was born in Halifax in 1883 and lived with her family at 1 Carr Terrace and then 129 Thorn Terrace in Luddenden. In 1908 she emigrated to Winnipeg in Canada.
She ended up living in America where she met Harry Humphries, who she married in Manhattan in September 1910. They were keen walkers and the couple walked from New York to Florida for their honeymoon. In July 1911 Lizzie took a wager offered by the New York Polo Monthly Magazine of $10,000 for someone to complete a 48,000 mile round the world walk in four years.
The couple set off from New York northwards through Canada and then sailed across the Atlantic to England. To finance the venture, they sold postcards of themselves and gave lectures at theatres in the places where they stopped. Their travels are well documented in the local papers and articles on their endeavours appeared in Health & Strength magazine and Polo Monthly.
In January 1912, Harry decided to leave Lizzie. He left taking a considerable amount of money with him. Now travelling alone, Lizzie continued with her walk, heading northwards through Britain then across to Scandinavia, into Finland, then Russia and the Ukraine, before heading westwards back into Europe. A number of letters that Lizzie wrote to her father contained requests for money suggesting she was struggling to support herself on the trip
When the First World War started in August 1914, the Halifax Courier reported that Mrs Harry Humphries was forced to return to England from Germany following the outbreak of war. She managed to reach Antwerp and get safe passage on a ship to England.
Lizzie died in Florida in 1960 leaving a large collection of memorabilia from her travels, including her blouse, walking boots, bag and pistol holder, which have all been donated to the Museum Service by her great nephew David Marcer.