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February 4, 1950

Child of Destiny: The Life Story of the First Woman Doctor

JAMA. 1950;142(5):377-378. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910230079035

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This is a warm and friendly portrayal of a truly unusual person, who probably would have risen to equally great heights had she entered the ministry or legal profession; one wonders that attitudes which confronted Elizabeth Blackwell ever actually existed and is grateful because they no longer exist.

Understanding of why this child of destiny finally took up the study of medicine is provided in the first five chapters, which recount the trials and troubles of her family during life in England, New York City and Cincinnati. Undoubtedly the demands of pioneer life combined with the somewhat stern, but still entirely acceptable, precepts of her adored father to strengthen the will that led finally to the study of medicine. She wrote, when, at the age of 24, this decision was made, "The idea of winning a doctor's degree gradually assumed the aspect of a great moral struggle, and the moral

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