Biography of Elizabeth Blackwell

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In the present-day, many of our doctors are women. However, that has not always been the case. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first recognized woman doctor. Though she had to face the doubt of the public and the opposition of other doctors, she eventually succeeded. Elizabeth Blackwell's accomplishments paved the way for future women doctors, as well as relieved women of their fear of male doctors.

Elizabeth Blackwell was born in Bristol, England on February 3, 1821, to Hannah and Samuel Blackwell (Steinbach). She was the fourth of nine children. She and her sisters had the same schooling their brothers did, by a private tutor; though it was highly unusual at the time. According to the highly esteemed Noah Webster, a women's education should only teach her to be, "correct in their manners, respectable in their families, and agreeable in society." He also said that, "Education is always wrong which raises a woman above the duties of her station" (Edwards). These statements reflected the world's beliefs when it came to women, and obviously shows favor to men. After Samuel Blackwell's sugar refining business collapsed, he decided to move his family to America. They lived first in New York, then New Jersey, and finally Cincinnati, where Samuel died in 1838 (Lewis).

In 1844, Elizabeth visited a family friend who was dying of cancer. The friend told Elizabeth of how uncomfortable she felt being treated by male doctors. When Elizabeth left, she was convinced that women would be more comfortable being treated by women doctors, and she decided to pursue medicine. She privately studied with Drs. John and Samuel Dickson for several years, until she felt that she was ready to apply to medical schools. She was denied by sixteen colleges before she was finally accepted into Geneva College of New York. She was not accepted for her capability, rather, but as a joke. The faculty of Geneva asked the students to vote on whether or not Elizabeth should be...
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