Elisabeth Blackwell

June 2, 2012 | In: Famous Women in history


Elisabeth Blackwell was born on the 3rd of February 1821, in England, and died on the 31st of May, 1910.

She had a beautiful childhood. She was born in a family with capitalist beliefs, with a father owning a small business through which he supported his family. But at the age of 11, they were forced to move to New York City. But they didn’t found a home there, and started to move over and over for the next years, living in Jersey City and Cincinnati. In 1838, her father died. That was the moment Elisabeth Blackwell became what she is today. In order to sustain her family, she opened a private school. Later, she taught at a school in Kentucky. But soon after, she was tired of the routine and decided to follow the University of Medicine, to become a surgeon. She was tutored by many renowned doctors from Yale and Harvard. But eventually, she wasn’t accepted because of her sex.

Eventually, she was accepted at the Geneva College in the state of New York, in 1848. One year later she practiced medicine for the first time and soon after graduated form Geneva College, thus becoming a citizen of the US and the first woman to have a medical degree. With this title she traveled back to Europe, where she contacted ophthalmia, a terrible eye disease. But that didn’t stop her from being a great surgeon.

She returned to New York and opened, in 1853, an office, due to the high number of patients. Soon after, her office became the New York Infirmary for Women and Children.

In 1858, Elisabeth returned to England. She was the first woman on the Medical Register of the UK. In 1871 she created the National Health Society. In 1875 she became a professor of gynecology at the Royal Free Hospital.

She died at the age of 89, remaining an astounding figure, not only in medicine.


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