My Favorite Person In Medicine
On January 23, 1849, a young woman walked across the stage of the Presbyterian Church in Geneva, NY. She was given the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the Geneva Medical College. And she happened to be the very first woman to earn the degree at an American school. Her name was Elizabeth Blackwell.
“If society will not admit of woman's free development, then society must be remodeled.”- Elizabeth Blackwell
Elizabeth Blackwell was born in England on February 3, 1821. She received her childhood education by private tutor. In 1832, her father, Samuel Blackwell, moved her family to the United States where they lived in New York and later moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Her father was actively involved in social reform and abolitionism (Wikipedia, 2013). He also had many businesses that did not do well for the family financially. After his death, Elizabeth and her mother and two sisters opened a private school in order to support their family. In the beginning, Elizabeth had no intentions of going into medicine. It was only after a female friend of Elizabeth’s had gotten sick and remarked to her that she wished she had a female doctor to consult with had she began considering becoming a doctor herself. Her father’s ideas of radicalism and social reform probably influenced her to make the decision as well. She was also said to have been looking for a reason to prevent any chance of future marriage.
Since no woman was allowed to go to medical school, she had to teach herself privately and under the assistance of a doctor in North Carolina whose family she was living with. To the rest of the world she was a teacher. She liked the idea of the struggle and fight she had ahead of her to get into a medical school. In 1847, she began that struggle. She applied and was rejected by all the leading medical schools. When the Geneva...