Medical Definition of Blackwell, Elizabeth

Reviewed on 6/3/2021

Blackwell, Elizabeth: (1821-1910) The first woman to receive a medical degree from an accredited American college. Blackwell was born in Bristol, England. Her father was a nonconformist, liberal, and abolitionist. In 1832 with her family, she immigrated to Cincinnati, Ohio. Blackwell decided to become a doctor in 1844 after a family friend dying with cancer said that she would have suffered less if she had been cared for by a female physician. I

In 1847 Geneva Medical College in upstate New York accepted her (by accident). She excelled and graduated at the top of her class in 1849. Blackwell continued her studies in Europe and practiced in Paris, London, and the US. In 1853 she helped found a clinic that later became the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children (which closed in 1899). During the Civil War she trained hundreds of nurses for the Union Army. She returned to England in 1869, helped found the London School of Medicine for Women and served there as professor until 1907.



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