Blackwell Featured in Manga – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Blackwell Featured in Manga

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell 1849, one of the Colleges’ most famous alums, has her own statue situated on the corner of the Quad. Also on campus, she has a house, a study room, and even several awards named for her. Now she has her own manga, a Japanese comic.

Shueisha Inc., one of the largest publishing houses in Japan, gave Blackwell her own book in the form of a manga. It is a part of an ongoing educational biography series meant to inspire young people. The series has featured noted individuals from around the world, from Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballerina; to Ryoma Sakamoto, a Japanese politician; to Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights leader; and Audrey Hepburn, actress.

Blackwell is best known for being the first female doctor in the United States. She attended Geneva Medical College, the precursor to Hobart College. Blackwell graduated in 1849 at the top of her class and went on to pave the way for women in medicine.

The manga features a number of historical pictures of Blackwell, as well as some of the College itself.  The images of the College and the city were provided by the Geneva Historical Society, which received a copy of the publication this summer. It is one of only 10,000 copies in print.

“It’s not often you get that sort of call,” says Karen Osburn of the Historical Society. “It’s nice to see so many people are as excited about it as I was.”

“I loved it!” says Kyoko Klaus, a Tanaka Lecturer in Asian Languages and Cultures at HWS. “I strongly recommend this manga to all the children and adults who can read Japanese. This manga gave me a lot of knowledge on Elizabeth Blackwell.”

Since the book is geared towards a young crowd, Blackwell’s childhood was introduced in detail.  The manga discusses the main events of the doctor’s life, as well as the historical events that affected her, such as the Civil War and her work with Florence Nightingale. About seven pages are dedicated to Blackwell’s acceptance into Geneva Medical College.

“I’m going to buy the whole series,” Klaus says. When she visits Japan, she plans to show her copy of the Blackwell manga to schoolchildren and tell them, “This is where I work!”