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Blackwell, Elizabeth

medical york usa women

(1821–1910) British–US physician: the first woman to graduate in medicine in the USA and the first woman on the British Medical Register.

Elizabeth Blackwell was born in Bristol and was taught by a tutor at home. When she was 11, the family emigrated to the USA and she went to school in New York. After the death of her father 6 years later, she became a teacher, but was not attracted to the work. She decided on a medical career, more as a challenge than as a vocation. After many fruitless applications she was accepted by Geneva College in New York. This happened because the application was thought to be a student joke by a rival college and was accepted in like spirit. Honourably, they kept to their commitment and she graduated in 1849. After further studies in Paris and London she returned to New York in 1851, but found she was prevented from practising. She gave lectures on hygiene, which brought useful social and professional contacts, and in 1853 opened a dispensary in a poor district of New York; from this the New York Infirmary for Women and Children emerged. With onset of the Civil War, plans for a medical school were shelved and Elizabeth Blackwell went to Europe to lecture on ‘Medicine as a Profession for Ladies’. In 1859 she placed her name on the new British Medical Register, becoming the first women to do so. She returned to the USA where her medical institute was opened in 1868. In 1869 she returned to Britain to practise medicine and later retired to Scotland. Elizabeth Blackwell influenced many women, by her example and lectures, to battle for acceptance into medical schools in their own country.

Blackwell, Robert, Sr.(1937–) - Consultant, entrepreneur, business executive, Chronology, Starts at IBM [next]

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