The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Blackwell, Elizabeth

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BLACKWELL, Elizabeth, American physician: b. Bristol, England, 3. Feb. 1821; d. London, 1 June 1910. In 1831 her father and family came to New York and in 1837 settled in Cincinnati, where he died soon after. For some years Elizabeth helped her mother to support eight other children by keeping a boarding school. In 1844 she resolved to become a physician and overcoming much serious opposition obtained admission to Geneva Medical College, Geneva, N. Y., where she was graduated with highest honors 1849, being the first woman to obtain a medical degree in the United States. She studied later with her sister Emily in Paris, again overcoming all opposition, and together in 1853 they started in New York, the Infirmary for Women and Children, the first institution of its kind conducted solely by women. In 1868 they founded the Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary which was afterward affiliated with Cornell Medical College when that institution became co-educational. In 1869 Dr. Blackwell settled in London and assisted in founding the National Health Society of London and the London School of Medicine for Women. She lectured extensively on medical and educational topics and wrote among other books ‘The Physical Education of Girls’ (1852); ‘Moral Education of the Young’ (1879); ‘The Human Element in Sex’ (1884); ‘The Influence of Women in Medicine’ (1889), and ‘Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women’ (1895).