Blackwell QTD

March 31, 2021

Jan. 23, 1849

Graduation day for the first woman to earn a medical degree in the U.S.

“I do not wish to give [women] a first place, still less a second one – but the most complete freedom, to take their true place whatever it may be.”

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell

  • Born February 3, 1821 in England.
  • Decided to study medicine after a sick friend believed she could have been treated better by a female doctor.
  • Admitted to Geneva Medical College in New York only because her application was believed to be a joke from the college’s rival school; she graduated at the top of her class.

Notable Accomplishments

  • 1851: Returned to the U.S. after continuing her medical training in Europe. Unable to find a hospital willing to hire a woman doctor, she opened her own small clinic instead.
  • 1857: Opened the New York Infirmary for Women & Children with her sister (also a doctor) to provide jobs for women physicians & medical care to the poor.
  • 1867: Opened a medical college for women in NYC.

While men continue to outnumber women nearly 2:1 in the U.S. medical field, in 2019 more women than men enrolled in medical school for the very first time on record. The new Dir. of the CDC is Dr. Rochelle Walensky – the third woman to hold the post.

A few more good reads on Dr. Blackwell:

Here’s a brief from Library of Congress

Why Dr. Blackwell decided to study medicine

Why the school thought her application was thought to be a joke

by Jenna Lee,