On an early July day, 8-year-old Esther Goldberg of Denver, Colo., stood at the base of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell’s bronze statue, regaling her grandparents, Charles and Honey Goldberg, with the story of the doctor’s life in Geneva. The soon-to-be third grader recently researched Hobart’s only female alum as part of a school project – and was presented by her grandparents with the unique opportunity to travel to the home of the world’s first woman to be granted a medical degree.
“She sounded like a great leader,” explained Esther when asked why she had chosen Blackwell as the subject of her research. “I wanted to study someone who made big contributions to the world.” During the school year, in addition to writing a report about her, Esther donned a lab coat, carried a medical bag and attended a “biography tea” featuring other famous historical figures dressed as Blackwell.
The Goldbergs arranged the visit with Professor of Art Ted Aub, who created and sculpted Blackwell’s bronze statue that graces the Hobart Quadrangle. They met him at the statue of Blackwell that was dedicated in 1994.
With the Goldbergs, Aub discussed the life of Blackwell, and the process by which he created the statue. An attentive student, Esther listened as Aub explained the details of the sculpture, ranging from her thoughtful, but untraditional, pose seated sideways on a chair to her book, which she has only just started to read – a symbol of a journey commencing, not ending.
“She stood up to let women do what they wanted to do,” said Esther, who also read a poem she had composed about Blackwell. The short poem detailed Blackwell’s path to becoming a doctor and her life as a leader in her field. “People always remember me for my confidence and bravery,” she said, reading one line.
While on their trip to the Finger Lakes, the Goldbergs also visited Seneca Falls, exploring the Women’s Rights National Historic Park. Another of Aub’s statues, “When Anthony Met Stanton,” which depicts the historic meeting of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, resides in the park.
After learning about Blackwell, Esther thinks that perhaps being a doctor would be a fun job; however, right now she’s perfectly happy drawing, painting and sculpting. “Art is my destiny,” she confided before snapping a photo of Blackwell.
In the photo above, Ted Aub (left) discusses his statue of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell with the Goldbergs.