Elizabeth Blackwell, an American physician, born in Bristol, England, in 1821. Her father emigrated with his family in 1831, and settled in New York, but removed in 1837 to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he died a few months afterward, leaving a widow and nine children almost destitute. Elizabeth, then 17 years old, opened a school, which she conducted successfully for several years. Having resolved to become a physician, she obtained a situation as governess in the family of Dr. John Dixon of Asheville, N. C, where she remained a year, having access during that time to a medical library, and receiving from Dr. Dixon some direction as to her reading. At the end of the year she removed to Charleston, S. C, still acting as a teacher of music, but pursuing her studies. She next went to Philadelphia, and passed six months in study under Dr. Allen and Dr. Warrington of that city. During that time she made formal application to the medical schools of Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, for admission as a student. In each instance the request was denied, on the ground of a want of precedent for such an admission, and of the impropriety of such an innovation upon established custom.
She was finally, however, admitted to the medical school at Geneva, N. Y., where she took her degree of M. D. in regular course in January, 1849. During her connection with the college, when not in attendance there upon lectures, she pursued a course of clinical study in Blockley hospital, Philadelphia. The spring after her graduation she went to Paris, and remained six months as a student in the Maternite hospital, devoting herself to the study and practice of midwifery. The next autumn she was admitted as a physician to walk the hospital of St. Bartholomew in London. After nearly a year spent there she returned to New York, where she has since practised her profession with success. In 1852 she published a treatise entitled "The Laws of Life." In 1854, with her sister Emily, she opened the New York infirmary for women and children, and in 1859 again visited London, and delivered a course of medical lectures.