Elizabeth Blackwell
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In the present-day, many of our doctors are women. However, that has not always been the case. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first recognized woman doctor. Though she had to face the doubt of the public and the opposition of other doctors, she eventually succeeded. Elizabeth Blackwells accomplishments paved the way for future women doctors, as well as relieved women of their fear of male doctors.

Elizabeth Blackwell was born in Bristol, England on February 3, 1821, to Hannah and Samuel Blackwell (Steinbach). She was the fourth of nine children. She and her sisters had the same schooling their brothers did, by a private tutor; though it was highly unusual at the time. According to the highly esteemed Noah Webster, a womens education should only teach her to be, “correct in their manners, respectable in their families, and agreeable in society.” He also said that, “Education is always wrong which raises a woman above the duties of her station” (Edwards). These statements reflected the worlds beliefs when it came to women, and obviously shows favor to men.

After Samuel Blackwells sugar refining business collapsed, he decided to move his family to America. They lived first in New York, then New Jersey, and finally Cincinnati, where Samuel died in 1838 (Lewis).

In 1844, Elizabeth visited a family friend who was dying of cancer. The friend told Elizabeth of how uncomfortable she felt being treated by male doctors. When Elizabeth left, she was convinced that women would be more comfortable being treated by women doctors, and she decided to pursue medicine. She privately studied with Drs. John and Samuel Dickson for several years, until she felt that she was ready to apply to medical schools. She was denied by sixteen colleges before she was finally accepted into Geneva College of New York. She was not accepted for her capability, rather, but as a joke. The faculty of Geneva asked the students to vote on whether or not Elizabeth should be accepted: the boys thought it would be extremely funny to have a woman in their school, and they all agreed. The people of the town were horrified when they found out that she was determined to attend, and many of the women thought her to be, “either wicked or insane”(Edwards).

“On the morning of Tuesday, January 23, 1849, a young woman ascended the platform of the Presbyterian Church in Geneva, N.Y., and received from the hands of the President of Geneva Medical College a diploma conferring upon her the degree of Doctor of Medicine. Thus, after many years of determined effort, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to complete a course of study at a medical college and receive the M.D. degree” (

Wanting to become a surgeon, Elizabeth continued to study in England and in Paris. In Paris, while attending to a child with an eye infection, fluid from the childs eye splashed into Elizabeths own eye, causing her to acquire the infection. It got so severe that she later had to have the eye removed, making it impossible for her to ever become a surgeon. She then went to London and, through family connections, was able to study at St. Bartholomews Hospital. By 1851, she was ready to participate in a private practice, but no man wanted to be associated with a woman doctor. She decided to return to America, where she opened an infirmary for women and children with her sister, Emily, who had also been struggling in the medical field (Lewis).

In 1857, Elizabeth and Emily opened a hospital in New York. Funded by liberal and reformers groups from France to Boston, the hospital became extremely successful and also served as a training ground for just graduated female doctors. Although people were beginning to accept the idea of women doctors, the first deaths at the hospital caused mobs to form that were convinced that “the lady doctors were killing their patients” (

In 1858, Elizabeth went on a year long lecture throughout Great Britain where she inspired many young women to take up a career in medicine, and she became the first woman to have her name printed on the British Medical Register. When she returned to the

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Elizabeth Blackwell And Elizabeth Blackwells Accomplishments. (April 2, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.freeessays.education/elizabeth-blackwell-and-elizabeth-blackwells-accomplishments-essay/