Elizabeth Blackwell “ For what is done or learned by one class of women becomes, by virtue of their common womanhood, property of all women”
Born February 3, 1821
“ The family was close-knit, and all felt a spirit of reform, dissent, and progressive political thinking”
Elizabeth studied math, Science, and History- all of which only boys could study in school
Family was active in social reform movements
A new life in America
Father lost job and moved to America to participate in the abolishment of slavery.
In 1838, he passed away, forcing Blackwell and her mother and sisters to found a private school and become teachers.
They all became active in reform movements and politics.
Inspiration to study medicine
The Search for an Education
Blackwell tried everything, including disguising herself of a man, but she was unable to graduate with a degree.
Elizabeth applied for over 29 medical schools, and after her 29 th , Geneva Medical College allowed her to study.
The board of the school accepted her largely as a joke, in which all students had to “unanimously” vote for her acceptance.
Despite the criticism and hostility that Elizabeth faced throughout medical school, she graduated in 1849 with honors, at the top of her class.
Over 20,000 people showed up to this graduation, in order to see a women graduate with great success.
Studying Medicine in Europe
Elizabeth decided she would like to become a surgeon, and believed Europe may be more accepting to her sex.
In June 1849, Dr. Blackwell was treating a child with an eye infection, and was contaminated. This caused her to lose sight in her left eye, crushing her dreams of becoming a surgeon.
She left Paris to get a postgraduate in medical studies at St. Barholomew’s Hospital in London, and while there she met Florence Nightingale.
Through Nightingale, she became more interested in social causes, especially those involving political and educational status of women.
In 1851, Elizabeth moved back to America, in order to help change the lives of many women.
Opening of the Infirmary for Women and Children
*She opened her own private practice in 1853, and soon after was joined by her sister who had just recently received her medical degree.
*They opened up the infirmary, and as a part of their project, they gave speeches on hygiene, sanitation, and keeping in good health.
*The infirmary charged only a little amount of money, if any, and was always struggling financially.
~ Dr. Blackwell left the infirmary in 1856, and went on a lecture tour of Great Britian for a year.
~ She was the first women to put her name on the British medical register, and the lectures she gave inspired many women to study medicine.
~When she returned to America in 1859, she worked with her sister Emily, and Florence Nightingale to organize the Women’s Central Association of Relief, and train nurses for service in the Civil War.
~ Elizabeth gained recognition, and in 1868, she opened the first medical school for women, where she became the professor of hygiene until 1869, when she moved to London to help form the National Health Society and London School of Medicine for women.
ENDING OF A LIFE OF LEGACY AND DEVOTION
*Elizabeth was asked by Garret Anderson to become the professor of gynecology at the London School of Medicine for Children, and remained there until 1907, when she was forced to retire after a terrible fall down the stairs
3 years later, Dr. Blackwell died in her home, and was buried in Scotland.