Blackwell, Elizabeth, 1821-1910

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Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell was born in Bristol, England, in 1821 to a politically outspoken father committed to fairness among his male and female children. In 1832, Samuel Blackwell moved his family to the United States in part for financial reasons but also to participate in the abolitionist movement. Two of his daughters would grow up to continue this fight against slavery and to work towards women's rights, specifically in the area of women in medicine. After years of struggling to be taken seriously and receiving rejections from 29 schools, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States in 1849. Upon graduating first in her class from New York's Geneva Medical College, she left for Europe, working in clinics in London and Paris. It was during her time in England in 1850 that Blackwell's cousin, Bessie Rayner Parkes, introduced her to fellow women's rights pioneer Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon. Then, while studying midwifery in France, Blackwell contracted purulent opthalmia, costing her sight in one eye and prompting her return to New York in 1851. Sexism in the United States limited Blackwell's opportunities for employment and for much intellectual exchange with other physicians, so, in 1853, Blackwell opened her own small dispensary. Then in 1857, along with her sister Emily, also a doctor, and their friend Dr. Marie Zakrzewska, she founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children. At the onset of the Civil War, Blackwell organized the Women's Central Association of Relief, training nurses for war service. She and her sister also helped to establish the United States Sanitary Commission. After the war, the Blackwell sisters founded the Women's Medical College at their infirmary in New York where Elizabeth served on the faculty until 1869 when she moved back to London. Blackwell gave up the practice of medicine in the 1870s due to her declining health, but she continued to teach and campaign for increased opportunities for women in the medical field. She died in England in 1910 at the age of 89. In 1949, 100 years after she received her M.D., the American Medical Women's Association created the Elizabeth Blackwell Medal to honor outstanding contributions made by women in the medical field.
Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Bell, Susan G. An annotated bibliography of British women's autobiographies, 1790-1950 : research and reference materials, 1986-1998. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Hunter, Archibald, fl. 1880. Health pamphlets. UAB - Lister Hill Library, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Lister Hill Library
referencedIn Florence Woolsey Hazzard papers, 1819-1976, 1925-1965 (bulk) Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn Autograph Letter Collection: Women in Medicine, 1865-1972 The Women' s Library
referencedIn Autograph File, B, ca.1500-1976. Houghton Library
referencedIn Blackwell family. Papers, 1832-1981 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Elizabeth Blackwell Letters, circa 1850-1884 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Blackwell Family Papers, 1759-1960, (bulk 1845-1890) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Visual materials from the Blackwell family papers, 1840-ca. 1935, bulk 1890-1925 Prints and Photographs Division Library of Congress
referencedIn Susan Groag Bell's, An Annotated bibliography of British Women's autobiographies, 1790-1950 :, research and reference materials, 1986-1998 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Papers of Henry Joseph Wilson, 1869-1930 The Women' s Library
referencedIn Lutz, Alma,. Collection of documents by and about abolitionists and women's rights activists: Part 1 (Ad-Lip), 1775-1943 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Papers, 1832-1981 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Hamilton, Alice, 1869-1970. Papers 1909-1965 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Papers, 1890 (1969-1973) Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Papers, 1835 (1845-1934) 1960 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf Blackwell, Elizabeth, 1821-1910. [Collection of essays, addresses, letters and pamphlets by Elizabeth Blackwell]. University of California, Los Angeles
referencedIn Sir James Paget correspondence, 1784-1932, 1784-1932 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Blackwell, Elizabeth, 1821-1910. Letter : [New York], to her friend, Katie, [1851?] Sep 13. Yale University, Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library
referencedIn Dodge, Jane Gay, 1881-1963. Papers, 1861-1951 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Moore, E. M. Autograph collection, 1816-1917. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Blackwell, Alice Stone, 1857-1950. Blackwell family papers, 1759-1960 (bulk 1845-1890). Library of Congress
referencedIn Blackwell family. Papers, 1842-1945 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Dissertation, 1981 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Scott, Mary Augusta, 1851-1918. Mary Augusta Scott papers, 1870-1917. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn New England Hospital for Women and Children. Records, 1792-1994. Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn Collection, n.y., n.d., 1775-1943 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Papers, 1882-1951 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn New England Hospital for Women and Children Records MS 339., 1792 - 1994 Sophia Smith Collection
referencedIn Woman's rights collection, 1853-1958 Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Autograph Letter Collection: General Women's Movement, 1825-1896 The Women' s Library
referencedIn Hazzard, Florence Woolsey, 1903-1992. Florence Woolsey Hazzard papers, 1819-1976, 1925-1965 (bulk). Cornell University Library
referencedIn Stantial, Edna Lamprey. Papers, 1836-1958 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Hazzard, Florence Woolsey, 1903-. Papers, 1890-1973 (inclusive), 1940-1973 (bulk). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn John Thomas Codman Brook Farm collection, 1840-1901. Houghton Library
creatorOf Blackwell, Elizabeth, 1821-1910. Letter : [New York], to her friend, Katie, [1851?] Sep 13. Yale University, Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library
creatorOf Allen, John, 1814-1858. Brook Farm correspondence, 1839--1851. Middlebury College
creatorOf Rogers, Patsy. In celebration : Elizabeth Blackwell / [music by] Patsy Rogers ; words by Eve Merriam. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Hays, Elinor Rice. Elinor Rice Hays papers, 1867-196- Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Autograph Letter Collection: Women's Suffrage (also includes postage stamps), 1851-1973 The Women' s Library
referencedIn Papers, 1784 (1832-1939) 1944 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Palmer, Edward Henry, 1840-1882,. [The Scrapbook of E.H. Palmer], 1829-1883 [/manuscript]. Stanford University, Lane Medical Library
referencedIn Blackwell family. Papers, 1784-1944 (inclusive), 1832-1939 (bulk). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Nightingale, Florence, 1820-1910. Correspondence of Florence Nightingale [manuscript]. Libraries Australia
creatorOf [Elizabeth Blackwell, biographical materials] University of Wisconsin - Madison, General Library System
referencedIn Woman's Rights Collection (WRC) Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf Blackwell, Elizabeth, 1821-1910. Elizabeth Blackwell papers, 1849-1863, and undated. Duke University, Medical Center Library & Archives
referencedIn Hosmer, Harriet Goodhue, 1830-1908. Papers, 1834-1959 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Blackwell, Elizabeth, 1821-1910. ALS, 23 May [1877] to Mme. [Jessie] Mario 116 Milton St., Dorset Square NW. Copley Press, J S Copley Library
referencedIn Wendell Phillips papers, 1555-1882 (inclusive) 1833-1881 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Papers, 1834-1959 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Autograph collection, 1816-1917, 1816-1917 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Blackwell, Elizabeth, 1821-1910. Elizabeth Blackwell letters, 1850-1884 (?). Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Spring, Rebecca. Rebecca Spring papers, ca. 1830-1900. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Blackwell, Elizabeth, 1821-1910. ALS, [no year] April 8, [England], to Miss Carpenter. Copley Press, J S Copley Library
referencedIn Hazzard, Florence W. (Florence Woolsey). Papers, 1940-1950. Smith College, Neilson Library
creatorOf Blackwell, Elizabeth, 1821-1910. Postcard : Hastings, to Caroline Wells Healey Dall, Wash. D.C., 1901 Oct 30. Bryn Mawr College, Mariam Coffin Canaday Library
referencedIn Scott, Mary Augusta, 1851-1918. Papers, 1870-1917. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Blackwell family. Papers, 1835-1960 (inclusive), 1845-1934 (bulk). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Vassar College. Autograph file: A-I, 1783-1983. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Florence Woolsey Hazzard Papers MS 76., 1940-1950 Sophia Smith Collection
referencedIn Elinor Rice Hays Papers, 1867-196-. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Eaton, Ellen Dwight, 1832-. Papers, 1857-1868 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Ross, Ishbel, 1897-1975. Papers, 1948-1959 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Blackwell family. Blackwell family papers, 1759-1960 (inclusive), [microform]. Yale University Library
referencedIn Audubon, Florence, 1852-1936. Henderson County Public Library general files, 1840-1981. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
referencedIn Blackwell, Alice Stone, 1857-1950. Papers in the Woman's Rights Collection, 1885-1950 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Blackwell, Elizabeth, 1821-1910. Research collection, 1847-1981. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Paget, James, Sir, 1814-1899. Correspondence, 1784-1932. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Blackwell family. Additional papers of the Blackwell family, 1851-1972 (inclusive), 1851-1935 (bulk). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Autograph Letter Collection: Biographical notes by Mrs Billington Greig, c.1950 The Women' s Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alice Stone Blackwell, 1857-1950 person
associatedWith ALMA LUTZ, 1890-1973 person
associatedWith Bell, Susan G. person
associatedWith Bell, Susan Groag person
associatedWith Blackwell, Alice Stone, 1857-1950. person
associatedWith Blackwell, Emily, 1826-1910. person
associatedWith Blackwell family family
associatedWith Blackwell family. family
associatedWith Blackwell family. family
associatedWith Blackwell family. family
associatedWith Blackwell family. family
associatedWith Blackwell family. family
associatedWith Blackwell family. family
associatedWith BLACKWELL FAMILY family
associatedWith BLACKWELL FAMILY family
associatedWith BLACKWELL FAMILY family
associatedWith Bodichon, Barbara Leigh Smith, 1827-1891. person
associatedWith Castleton Medical College. corporateBody
associatedWith Codman, John Thomas. person
associatedWith Dall, Caroline Wells Healey, 1822-1912. person
associatedWith DeLancey, Margaret Murray. person
associatedWith Dodge, Jane Gay, 1881-1963. person
associatedWith Eaton, Ellen Dwight, 1832- person
associatedWith Florence (Woolsey) Hazzard, 1903- person
associatedWith Geneva Medical College. corporateBody
associatedWith Hamilton, Alice, 1869-1970. person
associatedWith HARRIET GOODHUE HOSMER, 1830-1908 person
associatedWith Hays, Elinor Rice. person
associatedWith Hays, Elinor Rice. person
associatedWith Hazzard, Florence W. (Florence Woolsey) person
associatedWith Hazzard, Florence Woolsey, 1903- person
associatedWith Hazzard, Florence Woolsey, 1903-1992 person
associatedWith History of Medicine Collections (Duke University) corporateBody
associatedWith Hosmer, Harriet Goodhue, 1830-1908. person
associatedWith JANE GAY DODGE, 1881-1963 person
associatedWith Lutz, Alma, person
associatedWith Margo E. Horn person
associatedWith Moore, E. M. person
associatedWith Moore, E. M., collector. person
associatedWith New England Hospital for Women and Children corporateBody
correspondedWith Nightingale, Florence, 1820-1910. person
associatedWith Paget, James, Sir, 1814-1899. person
associatedWith Palmer, Edward Henry, 1840-1882, person
correspondedWith Phillips, Wendell, 1811-1884 person
associatedWith Prince, William Robert, 1795-1869. person
associatedWith Rogers, Patsy. person
associatedWith Ross, Ishbel, 1897-1975. person
associatedWith Scott, Mary Augusta, 1851-1918. person
associatedWith Spring, Rebecca. person
associatedWith Stantial, Edna Lamprey. person
associatedWith Vassar College. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
England
United States
United States
Subject
Physicians
Medicine--Practice--England
Medicine--Essays
Women in medicine
Medicine--Practice
Sanitation
Medicine--Study and teaching
Public health
Women--History
Feminism
Women physicians
Medicine--Practice--United States
Occupation
Women physicians
Function

Person

Birth 1821-02-03

Death 1910-05-31

Americans

English

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