Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell was born in England in 1821, and emigrated to New York City when she was ten years old. One day she decided that she wanted “to become a doctor”. That was nearly impossible for a woman in the middle of the ninetieth century. After writing many letters seeking admission to the medical schools, she was finally accepted by a doctor in Philadelphia. So determined was she that she taught school and gave music lessons to earn money for her tuition.

In 1849, after graduation from medical school, she decided to further her education in Paris. She wanted to be a surgeon, but a serious eye infection forced her to abandon the idea. Upon returning to the United States, she found it difficult to start her own practice because she was a woman. By 1857 Elizabeth and her sister, also a doctor along with another female doctor, managed to open a new hospital, first for women and children. Besides being the first female physician and founding her own hospital, she also established the first medical school for women.