“A blank wall of social and professional antagonism.”  Elizabeth Blackwell


Elizabeth Blackwell (b.1821 – d.1910), the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States.

“I had not the slightest idea of the commotion created by my appearance as a medical student in the little town. Very slowly I perceived that a doctor’s wife at the table avoided any communication with me, and that as I walked backwards and forwards to college the ladies stopped to stare at me, as at a curious animal. I afterwards found that I had so shocked Geneva [New York] propriety that the theory was fully established either that I was a bad woman, whose designs would gradually become evident, or that, being insane, an outbreak of insanity would soon be apparent.”

In her own words: celebrating women in medicine

“If society will not admit of woman’s free development, then society must be remodeled.”
– Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States

And remodel society they did! Throughout March, HHSL will be honoring 2013 Women’s History Month by presenting remarkable women in medicine according to their own words. We hope you find this series of posts illuminating and that you take a minute or two to learn more about their legacy.

Learn more about the life of Elizabeth Blackwell and Women’s History Month!

Image source: Nation Library of Medicine

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