Elisabeth Blackwell

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Elisabeth Blackwell was the first female physician. She dreamed of achieving her medical license during a time when the United States was fighting the Civil War. I personally find it very interesting that while the country was divided over the issue of slavery she was fighting the same problems women continue to face today. It was difficult for her to find a university that would allow her to attend. In fact she was turned away from 29 schools. She eventually found schools in both America and England and she graduated from what is now known as Hobart College. Her “sensibilities” were questioned and while studying the reproductive anatomy she was asked to leave the room.  In 1857 she opened a clinic to give medical treatment to the poor. She became friends with the far more famous Florence Nightingale but they disagreed on some points. Ms. Nightingale insisted that she could do more good as a nurse and saw no need for Blackwell to pursue a degree as a surgeon.  Blackwell never married but adopted a daughter from Ireland.

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