Elizabeth Blackwell (1821–1910) was a pioneering figure in the fields of medicine and women’s rights.
Born in England, she moved to the United States in her early years and overcame numerous challenges to become the first woman to be admitted to medical school and earn a medical degree in the United States.
Her accomplishments didn’t stop there; she went on to establish medical institutions, advocate for women’s health, and inspire generations of women to pursue careers in medicine and beyond.
This timeline highlights key moments in her life, from breaking down barriers in education to leaving a lasting legacy that continues to impact the world.
|1821||Born in Bristol, England|
|1832||Blackwell family moves to the United States|
|1847||Accepted into Geneva Medical College in New York, becoming the first woman admitted to medical school|
|1849||Graduates from Geneva Medical College, becoming the first woman to earn a medical degree in the US|
|1850-1851||Studies in clinics in Paris, London, and Edinburgh|
|1853||Opens the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children with her sister Emily Blackwell and Dr. Marie Zakrzewska|
|1857||Publishes “The Laws of Life with Special Reference to the Physical Education of Girls”|
|1859||Establishes the Women’s Medical College in New York City|
|1869||Moves to England|
|1874||Helps establish the London School of Medicine for Women|
|1875||Publishes autobiography “Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women”|
|1907||Passes away in Hastings, England|
Timeline of Elizabeth Blackwell
1821: Born in Bristol, England
Elizabeth Blackwell was born on February 3, 1821, in Bristol, England. She was the third of nine children born to Samuel Blackwell and Hannah Lane Blackwell. The family moved to the United States when Elizabeth was around 11 years old, settling in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1832: Blackwell family moves to the United States
In 1832, the Blackwell family emigrated from England to the United States, seeking better opportunities. They faced financial challenges but believed in the importance of education and self-improvement.
1847: Accepted into Geneva Medical College, first woman admitted to medical school
Elizabeth Blackwell’s application to Geneva Medical College in New York was initially met with skepticism, but with the support of faculty and students, she was accepted in 1847.
Also Read: Elizabeth Blackwell Accomplishments
Her acceptance marked a significant milestone as the first woman to be admitted to a medical school in the United States. Her determination and dedication paved the way for women to pursue medical education.
1849: Graduates from Geneva Medical College, first woman to earn a medical degree in the US
Elizabeth Blackwell graduated from Geneva Medical College on January 23, 1849, becoming the first woman in the United States to earn a medical degree.
Her achievement was groundbreaking and inspirational, demonstrating that women could excel in fields traditionally dominated by men. Her graduation was met with both curiosity and opposition from the medical community.
1850-1851: Studies in clinics in Paris, London, and Edinburgh
After her graduation from Geneva Medical College, Elizabeth Blackwell continued to expand her medical knowledge by studying in European clinics.
Also Read: Elizabeth Blackwell Facts
She faced additional challenges as a woman seeking clinical experience in a male-dominated field. She attended clinics in Paris, London, and Edinburgh, where she observed medical practices and gained valuable insights into different medical approaches.
1853: Opens the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children
In partnership with her sister Dr. Emily Blackwell and Dr. Marie Zakrzewska, Elizabeth Blackwell founded the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children in 1853.
This institution aimed to provide medical care to under-served populations, while also serving as a training ground for women physicians.
The infirmary helped break down gender barriers in medicine by offering opportunities for women to gain practical experience and contribute to healthcare.
1857: Publishes “The Laws of Life with Special Reference to the Physical Education of Girls”
Blackwell’s commitment to improving women’s health and education extended beyond medicine. In 1857, she published a book titled “The Laws of Life with Special Reference to the Physical Education of Girls,” advocating for proper physical education and health practices for girls and women. The book highlighted the importance of a holistic approach to women’s well-being.
1859: Establishes the Women’s Medical College in New York City
Elizabeth Blackwell’s dedication to advancing women in medicine led her to establish the Women’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary in 1859.
This college provided women with the opportunity to receive medical education and training in an environment tailored to their needs. The establishment of the college marked a significant step forward in creating a pathway for women to become skilled medical professionals.
1869: Moves to England
In 1869, Elizabeth Blackwell and her family moved to England, seeking new opportunities and experiences. Despite her relocation, Blackwell continued to be involved in medical practice, education, and advocacy.
1874: Helps establish the London School of Medicine for Women
While in England, Blackwell played a key role in establishing the London School of Medicine for Women in 1874. This institution aimed to provide medical education for women who were often denied admission to established medical schools.
Blackwell’s involvement underscored her commitment to promoting medical education and professional opportunities for women on an international scale.
1875: Publishes autobiography “Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women”
In 1875, Elizabeth Blackwell published her autobiography titled “Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women.” The book chronicled her journey, struggles, and accomplishments as a pioneering woman in medicine.
Her autobiography provided valuable insights into the challenges and triumphs she faced, serving as an inspiration for aspiring women in medicine and beyond.
1907: Passes away in Hastings, England
Elizabeth Blackwell’s impactful life came to an end on May 31, 1907, when she passed away in Hastings, England. Her legacy continued to influence the advancement of women in medicine and other fields.
Her efforts paved the way for generations of women to follow in her footsteps, breaking down barriers and contributing to the progress of gender equality.