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April 14, 1945

The First Woman Doctor: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell, M.D.

JAMA. 1945;127(15):1023. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860150067025

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Abstract

This is the simply told narrative of Elizabeth Blackwell, M.D., who was the first woman to enter and graduate from an American medical college. Perhaps the courage which led her to drive to her goal is best characterized by her decision as a little girl. When asked what she intended to do when she grew up she said she did not know but that whatever she did it would "be something hard." Her selection of medicine as a career completely fulfilled this formula, because no woman had ever entered this profession in this country, at least through the orthodox channels of a medical school. The sequence of events in Dr. Blackwell's life to accomplish "something hard" includes her struggles to gain admission to a medical school, successful finally in the now defunct Geneva Medical College of New York State (from which she graduated in 1849), to find a place to

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