The Library of Congress, in its American Memory feature, listed Elizabeth Blackwell’s graduation from Geneva Medical College in “Today in History: January 23.”
Known worldwide as the first woman to receive her degree as a Doctor of Medicine, Elizabeth Blackwell represents a historic moment in modern medicine and women’s liberation. Several years after her family immigrated to the United States, Dr. Blackwell studied privately with independent physicians, an education which culminated at Geneva Medical College in Upstate New York. Upon graduation, Dr. Blackwell founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children. Later, she helped found the National Health Society, was the first woman to be placed on the British Medical Register, and taught at England’s first college of medicine for women. She pioneered in preventive medicine and in the promotion of antisepsis and hygiene.
The Library of Congress quotes Blackwell, “I do not wish to give [women] a first place, still less a second one – but the most complete freedom, to take their true place whatever it may be.”