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Elizabeth Blackwell Timeline

Elizabeth was the first lady to be given a degree in Medicine in the US and the first woman physician to have her name on the Medical Register of the UK.
Maya Pillai Jan 28, 2019
"Medicine is so broad a field ... dealing as it does with all ages, sexes and classes ... [that] the cooperation of men and women is needed to fulfill all its requirements."- Elizabeth Blackwell
Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to be awarded a medical degree in the U.S.A. She and her family migrated to the US from England in the early 19th century. Blackwell had to face a lot of hurdles before she could attain a degree in the field of medicine. Being a woman of strong will power, she demolished the male stereotype in the field of medicine.

Timeline of Elizabeth Blackwell

1821: Elizabeth Blackwell was born on February 3rd, 1821 in Bristol, England. Her parents were Samuel Blackwell and Hannah Blackwell. She was their third child and had eight siblings.
1832: Samuel Blackwell's sugarcane factory was destroyed in a fire accident. Elizabeth Blackwell and family relocated from England to New York City, USA.

1837: The family had to struggle for survival. Her father's business was in a loss. Elizabeth Blackwell and her family moved from New York to New Jersey.
1838: In May, Elizabeth and her family relocated again moving from New Jersey to Cincinnati, Ohio. In August, Samuel Blackwell died.
1839: Mrs. Samuel Blackwell and her daughters Elizabeth, Anna, and Marian opened a private school in Cincinnati. Initially, Elizabeth Blackwell taught in her mother's school. It was during this period that the idea of becoming a physician struck her.
1845-1847: She taught in a school in Kentucky before moving to North Carolina. She was an active participant of the reform movements. She was determined to pursue her studies in medicine. In North Carolina, she met Dr. John Dickson who tutored her. Later, Elizabeth Blackwell moved to South Carolina where she was tutored by Dr. Samuel till October 1947.
1847: Elizabeth Blackwell moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as she wanted to pursue the study of medicine in a college. She was admitted by Geneva College in New York City. She began attending her classes from November 1847. She had to face a lot of hostility before her classmates accepted her.
1848: Fortnight after the first Convention of Woman's Rights in Seneca Falls, Elizabeth was proclaimed as a pioneer for women in medicine.
1849: Being awarded her medical degree in January 1849, Blackwell became the first woman physician in the US. The American medical fraternity banned her from practicing. However, she never lost hope and left for England, where she studied medicine in hospitals in Birmingham and London. She met Florence Nightingale in St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London.
1850: Elizabeth left for Paris to join La Maternite hospital. Here, she was allowed to practice, provided she pursued the course in Midwifery. During this period, she contracted purulent ophthalmia. As a result of this eye disease, she had to remove her eye which prevented her from fulfilling her dream of becoming a surgeon.
1851: Blackwell returned to New York. The Americans were still not ready to accept a woman doctor. Hospitals and clinics did not allow her to practice. The landlords refused to lease out their space to for a clinic. However, these hostilities did not discourage her from carrying on. Elizabeth countered the hostility by buying a house to start her practice.
1853: Elizabeth opened a clinic in the slums of New York City. Women and children were her patients. Her sister, Dr. Emily, and Dr. Marie E. Zakrzewska, later joined her.
1857: The Blackwell sisters and Dr. Marie E. Zakrzewska started a hospital called The New York Infirmary for Women and Children. Elizabeth adopted Katherine Barry, an orphan, who was with her till she died.

1858: In August, Elizabeth left for Great Britain for a year-long tour.
1859: In January 1859, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman whose name was entered on the Medical Register of the United Kingdom. She left for the US the same year and her friend, Dr. Marie E. Zakrzewska came over to England where she opened a hospital called New England Hospital for Women and Children.
1861: Civil War broke out in the US. On April 29th, Elizabeth Blackwell with the help of 3000 women formed an association called the Women's Central Association for Relief (WCAR). This organization contributed to the war effort by providing food, medical supplies, and clothes to the soldiers.
1868: Elizabeth opened a college in New York City named Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary. This was the first American medical school for women.
1869: She left for England, where she spent the rest of her life. Here, Blackwell set up a private practice. She along with Florence Nightingale opened Women's Medical College.
1871: She published a book called The Religion of Health. She was very particular about issues regarding cleanliness and hygiene. She helped to form the National Health Society in England.
1874: Elizabeth along with her sister, Emily Blackwell, and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Sophia Jex Blake, and Thomas Henry Huxley founded the London School of Medicine. It was associated with the Women's Medical College of New York City.
1875: She worked as the professor in gynecology at the London School of Medicine. She worked there till 1907.
1878-1902: Some of the best selling medical books were written by Elizabeth Blackwell during the period 1878-1902. She has also written an autobiography called Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women. Some of her popular books include Counsel to Parents on the Moral Education of their Children and The Human Element in Sex.
1907: Elizabeth met with an accident which forced her to retire from her teaching profession at the London School of Medicine.
1910: Elizabeth Blackwell left for heavenly abode on May 31,1910. She died at the ripe age of 89. She was in Hastings at the time of her death. Elizabeth Blackwell was buried in Kilmun, Argyllshire in the Highlands of Scotland. At the time of her death, America had 7000 women physicians.