Nineteen ninety-nine marks the 150th anniversary of the entrance of women into the modern regular medical profession
On January 23, 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell (February 3, 1821 – May 31, 1910) received her M.D. from Geneva Medical College (the precursor of the Syracuse Health Science Center College of Medicine), the first such degree earned by a woman anywhere in the world.
She was born in Bristol, England, the third daughter among the nine children of a sugar refiner, Samuel Blackwell, and his wife, Hannah. The family was very close-knit, and all felt a spirit of reform, dissent, and progressive political thinking. For example, they believed in free and equal education for both sexes, a radical notion in those days. Most of the children, not just Elizabeth, would later become prominent in social reform movements. When the father’s business collapsed in 1832, the family left England to start over in America.
- Published in Profile of Women In Medicine