timeline

born 1821

Elizabeth Blackwell initially hated the idea of studying the body + its ailments. But when a dying friend confided that a female physician might have eased her suffering, Elizabeth had a change of heart. The fact that med schools still wouldn't admit women only intensified her determination. "The moral fight," she said, "possessed immense attraction for me." 

Despite resistance, the British-born Elizabeth became the first woman to earn a medical degree in the US. As a doctor, she found her niche operating a hospital for poor women and children. And, running a med school for women, so that others could follow in her footsteps.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Elizabeth Blackwell (6)

"With a firm faith in infinite good and immortality, the most wearisome life becomes a source of triumphant thanksgiving."

Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women: Autobiographical | july 1846

"We have learned that ceaseless activity is the law of life in every realm of Nature."

The Laws of Life, with specific reference to the physical education of girls | 1859

"We cannot examine the smallest and most insignificant objects in nature, without being lost in wonder at the rich uses which are developed from its tiny framework."

The Laws of Life, with specific reference to the physical education of girls | 1859

"Noble work! Welcome struggle, suffering, torture even, if our path lie through them..."

The Laws of Life, with specific reference to the physical education of girls | 1859

"It is not easy to be a pioneer—but oh, it is fascinating! I would not trade one moment, even the worst moment, for all the riches in the world."

Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women | january 1895

"When I came here, I did not care one straw what people thought of my personal appearance, I dressed entirely from a principle of self respect; now, I sometimes dress for others and feel a slight satisfaction if the glass tells me that I shall not scare people."

Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women: Elizabeth Blackwell autobiography | 1895
  • Quotabelle profile
  • Elizabeth Blackwell

curated with care by Kathleen Murray {september 2014}