Fun Facts About Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell
- Elizabeth Blackwell 1821-1910, American physician, b. England; sister of Henry Brown Blackwell .
- She emigrated to New York City when she was eleven years old. During Elizabeth’s childhood she took all the subjects the boys did at school. It was said that she wouldn’t leave until all of her writing was perfect.
- When Elizabeth was ready to start college she applied to many colleges. Before applying to college she had gone to many teachers’ houses and trained with them. After many tries, she finally was the first women accepted to Geneva Medical College (then part of Geneva College, early name of Hobart). Even though she was accepted, the school did not seem to take her seriously. Nonetheless, her perseverance led her to a medical degree, which she received in 1849.
- After she finished college she went to France to get more training. Elizabeth tried to enter La Maternite as a student apprentice. Even though the hospital did not recognize her degree, they let her be a nurse. While she was working there she got to help some doctors. One time she was called to take care of a baby whose eyes were infected. When she bent over the baby, some of the liquid squirted into her own eye. It got infected and resulted in her losing sight in that eye.
- After she recovered she came home to the US. Shortly after, she tried to start her own hospital. A big problem was that no one wanted to see a female doctor. After she treated each patient they would spread the word about how good she was, and soon lots of people were coming to her.
- With her sister, Emily Blackwell (1826-1910) who was also a doctor, and Marie Zackrzewska (an assistant), she founded (1857) the New York Infirmary for Women and Children, which was expanded in 1868 to include a Women’s College for the training of doctors, the first of its kind.
- In 1869, Dr. Blackwell settled in England, where she became (1875) professor of gynecology at the London School of Medicine for Women, which she had helped to establish.
- She wrote Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women (1895) and many other books and papers on health and education.