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Elizabeth Blackwell First Woman Doctor

For the Month of March we will be learning about women who  have made History  the kids wanted to learn about the first woman Doctor Elizabeth Blackwell  here is links for  free worksheets

  Elizabeth Blackwell was the first female in the United States to receive her medical license and the first female to be on the Medical Register in the UK .She was the first  woman to graduate from medical school she was also a pioneer for women in the medicine field she was a social and moral reformist in the United States as well in Britain Her sister Emily was the third woman to get her medical license in the United States.


Elizabeth Blackwell was born on February 3, 1821 in   Bristol, England she was the 3 child out of 9 kids. Her father Samuel Blackwell was a rich sugar refiner merchant Samuel believed that all his children should be given the opportunity in education including Elizabeth she was provided with private tutors in her younger years. When Elizabeth was 11 her father moved the family to America when they made it to New York her father set up a sugar refinery in New Jersey Samuel Blackwell had become very active in reform circles he was  involved  with Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison In 1836 Samuel Sugar refinery had  burned down in a fire after rebuilding his business it was short lived and ran in to Business problems a year later after losing his Business he decide to move the family from New Jersey  to Cincinnati, Ohio  three weeks after they moved to Cincinnati Samuel passed away  unexpectedly  from biliary fever  leaving the family with no financial resources.

 In order for them to support the family Elizabeth and her two older sisters Anna, Marian and their Mother Hannah opened a private school in Cincinnati where her younger sister Emily Black well was a teacher later on at the school. In 1844 with her sister help she  obtain a teaching job that had paid her 400 dollars a year although  she was satisfied with her class Elizabeth  found the schoolhouse along with the commendations lacking  She had hated the town and people in Henderson, Kentucky  she moved back to Cincinnati  after a half a year. The idea  to purse a medicine career was put into her head  by a female friend of hers who was dying from uterine cancer the friend expressed how having a female doctor would make things easier Elizabeth felt that women would make better doctors due to their motherly instincts at first she was repulsed by having a medical career  she hated everything connected to the body one of her influence was due to her family's religious and social radicalism and another influence was she wanted to live without having to marry a man she  loved being independent.

In her pursuit in to higher education Elizabeth Blackwell had been rejected by all the top leading schools that she applied including others school she applied to. When her application was received at Geneva, New York the administration asked the students if they should accept her thinking it to be a joke they said yes to her admission. In October 1847 she was accepted in Geneva Medical College when she first arrived at the school she was quite nervous nothing was familiar to her she was even unsure where to get the books. But soon she would find herself at home in Medical school when people realized she was serious both the students and towns people became outraged she had a few allies and was outcast by the rest in Geneva they even kept her at first from medical demonstrations they told her it was inappropriate for woman but after some time the majority of students were impressed with her. They like that she was persistent and didn't give up. Elizabeth Blackwell graduate first in her class in January 1848 becoming the first woman to get her medical degree in the United States Elizabeth decide to pursue further study she left to England

After a brief stay in England Elizabeth Blackwell enrolled at La Maternities for midwives course where she had later on suffered an eye infection  leaving her blind in one eye   and leaving her no other option but to abandon her career as a surgeon. After sometime of recovery she enrolled in St Bartholomew s Hospital in London 1850 she worked Dr. James Pageant this is where she met and became friends with Florence Nightingale,

In 1851 she decide to return to the United States to purse her career, She had hope to find and establish her own practice, She was able to open up practice in New York where she faced adversity in 1852 she purchased a house and churned it in to a private practice she treated women and children as she develop her practice she wrote lectures on health later she published them in 1852 it was called the Laws of Life in reference to the physical education for girls. In 1853 she open up her own dispensary in New York City  near Tompkins Square were her sister Emily Blackwell and Dr. Maria Zakrzewska an immigrate from Poland who Elizabeth in Encouraged in her medical career,

In 1857 the Blackwell sisters and Dr, Zakrzewska incorporated the New York Dispensary for Woman and Children Dr,Zakrzewska left two years later to work in Boston but before she left Elizabeth Blackwell went to Great  Britain for a yearlong lecture tour, She was the first women to have her name on the medical register 1859 these lectures inspired other women to take up medicine .

After returning home in 1859 she return to work at the infirmary During the time of Civil War the Blackwell sister help organize the Central Association Relief Center that  they hand selected and trained nurse for the war this inspired the United States Sanitary Commissions and the Blackwell sister went to  work for them as well. A few years after the war end in November 1868 Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell open the Women Medical College at the Infirmary Elizabeth took the chair of hygiene. Elizabeth only ran the Infirmary for a year until the Blackwell sister had a fallen out and Elizabeth started to feel slightly alienated by the United States women medical movement and so she decide it was time to move on. She moved back to England the following year in 1874 she would establish and open London School of Medicine for Women.

In 1875 Elizabeth was appointed head of the gynecology at the London School of Medicine for Children. In 1907 Blackwell had a fall down some steps leaving her physically disabled on May 31, 1910 Elizabeth Blackwell died at her home in Hasting,Sussex 

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