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Why Women should be Nurses and not Doctors

The story of women's role in medicine in 19th-century Britain has been dominated by two iconic figures Sophia Jex-Blake (1840 - 1912) and Florence Nightingale (1820 - 1910)


They died within a couple of years of one another, but Florence Nightingale was the elder by twenty years, and became an established national heroine when she returned from the Crimean war in 1856. In 1860 a school for nurses was set up under her name at St Thomas' Hospital. This happened nine years before Jex-Blake led her own small group of women students to matriculate in medicine at the University of Edinburgh. The interval of twenty years between their birthdates, has some importance in their joint story. By the time that Jex-Blake was immersed in her publicity campaign and legal struggles, Florence Nightingale was already a legend.

Beatrice Moses Hinkle

Beatrice Moses Hinkle was born in San Francisco on October 10, 1874. She enjoyed the benefits of being privately educated, and soon developed a great sensibility for the arts and literature.


Beatrice was an extraordinary thinker, a skill developed by the strong encouragement of her parents who were committed to educational methods and thrive for success. No more is known about her family relations.

In 1892, Beatrice married Walter S. Hinkle, a lawyer and assistant district attorney. Later that year, Beatrice entered the Cooper Medical School which later was taken over by Stanford University. Sadly, her husband died in 1899 after only seven years of marriage. Although the sadness caused by her husband's death, Beatrice had a good motive to lift her hope again when she finally graduated from the medical school and became a physician.

Annie Elizabeth Delany

"It took me a hundred years to figure out I can't change the world. I can only change Bessie."

Annie Elizabeth "Bessie" Delany (1891–1995)
Dentist and Author


A mainstay in the Harlem community for much of the twentieth century, "Bessie" Delany came to broader public attention only after the age of 100, when she and her sister, Sarah "Sadie" Delany (1889-1999), a retired teacher, were approached by New York Times reporter Amy Hill Hearth.

Following the publication of a newspaper story by Hearth, the threesome collaborated on Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years, a best-seller acclaimed as a portrait of a century of African-American life and a self-portrait of pioneering black professional women.

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