A Woman Doctor for Women
In 1847, Elizabeth Blackwell was accepted at Geneva Medical College after being refused by all the prominent medical schools in Philadelphia because of her gender. The faculty at Geneva asked the 150 male medical students to vote on her admission and thinking it was a joke, they voted her in. Medical classes were generally boisterous and vulgar, but Elizabeth’s presence changed the entire tenor of the instruction. When the anatomy professor asked her to skip the lectures on reproductive anatomy, she refused. Elizabeth graduated in 1849 with the highest grade in her class and became the first woman Medical Doctor in the US.
Elizabeth went into private practice in New York and in 1857 along with her sister Emily, founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children. In 1868, the hospital opened the first women’s college in America to train female nurses and doctors. Elizabeth Blackwell returned to England where she was born to become professor of gynecology at the London School of Medicine for Women.