Best Known For
Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to graduate from medical school in the United States. She became a leading public health activist during her lifetime.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Elizabeth Blackwell was born February 3, 1821, near Bristol, England. She moved with her family to the United States when she was 11. Despite opposition from both fellow students and the public, she became the first woman to graduate from medical school in the United States. She created a medical school for women in the late 1860s. She later returned to England and set up a private practice there.
It is not easy to be a pioneer -- but oh, it is fascinating! I would not trade one moment, even the worst moment, for all the riches in the world.
Physician, educator. Born on February 3, 1821, near Bristol, England. Elizabeth Blackwell broke into the field of medicine to become the first woman to graduate from medical school in the United States. She became a leading public health activist during her lifetime.
At the age of 11, Elizabeth Blackwell and her family moved to the United States. After her father’s death in 1838, she opened a school along with her mother and sister. Blackwell later decided to pursue a career in medicine. But the road to becoming a doctor was not an easy one for her. She studied independently with a doctor before getting accepted to the Geneva Medical College in upstate New York in 1847.
Elizabeth Blackwell’s admittance to the college created an uproar. She faced criticism from fellow students as well as the general public. But she held firm despite these challenges, earning the respect of many of her peers. Blackwell graduated in 1849.
After working in Paris and London, Elizabeth Blackwell established a private practice in New York City. She later opened a clinic that became known as the New York Dispensary for Poor Women and Children in 1853. With help from her sister and fellow doctor Emily Blackwell, she also established the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children in 1857. That same year, she became the first woman listed on the British Medical Register while she had been lecturing there.
In the late 1860s, Elizabeth Blackwell created a medical school for women. Part of their education, the students of the Women’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary learned about hygiene from Blackwell. She believed that maintaining sanitary conditions was an important aspect of health. Earlier in her career, she had helped establish the U.S. Sanitary Commission. One of the school’s first students was Sophia Jex-Blake, who would later open a medical school for women in London.
Soon after establishing the college, Elizabeth Blackwell returned to England. She set up a private practice in London and served as a lecturer at the London School of Medicine for Women. She retired in 1877 and moved to Hastings. Elizabeth Blackwell died at her home there on May 31, 1910.
© 2014 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.
profile name: Elizabeth Blackwell profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Despite all sorts of institutional obstacles, women have continued to reach stratospheric levels of success in a full gamut of professional pursuits, whether as scientists, scribes, educators, governmental leaders, athletes, designers, film directors or performers. Learn more about the plethora of triumphs obtained by our group of trailblazers.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women.
Groundbreaking Women 71 people in this group
Famous Academics 451 people in this group
Famous Teachers 230 people in this group