Blackwell, Elizabeth


Blackwell, Elizabeth

biographical name

(born Feb. 3, 1821, Counterslip, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Eng.—died May 31, 1910, Hastings, Sussex) British-born U.S. physician. Her family immigrated to the U.S. in 1832. She began her medical education by reading medical books and hiring private instructors. Medical schools rejected her applications until she was accepted at the Geneva Medical (later Hobart) College in 1847. Though ostracized, she graduated at the head of her class in 1849, becoming the first woman doctor in modern times and the first to gain her degree from a U.S. medical school. In 1857, despite much opposition, she established the New York Infirmary, staffed entirely by women, and she later added a full course of medical education for women. She was also a founder of the London School of Medicine for Women. Her sister Emily (1826–1910) ran the infirmary for many years and served as dean and professor at the associated medical college.

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