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Amidst the rampant gender bias and discrimination against women in the 19th Century, Elizabeth Blackwell was known as the first woman to finish and receive a medical degree in the United States of America, making Elizabeth Blackwell the first female doctor in the US.
See the fact file below for more information on the Elizabeth Blackwell or alternatively, you can download our 19-page Elizabeth Blackwell worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Elizabeth Blackwell was born on February 3, 1821 in Counterslip, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England.
- Elizabeth Blackwell’s father, Samuel Blackwell, was a hardworking, prosperous sugar refiner in their city.
- Elizabeth’s mother, Hannah Lane, also came from a prosperous family of merchants.
- Taking that into account, Elizabeth Blackwell came from a wealthy family. Her family was also deeply religious, worshipping in an independent protestant church.
- Her childhood education was not traditional.
- While rarely going to school, Elizabeth and her four brothers were home-schooled by private tutors and a governess.
- Samuel Blackwell refused to believe that his children’s full potential would be developed by punishing them physically.
- Instead of inflicting physical pain in disciplining Elizabeth and her siblings, he commanded them to write them down so it would build-up in a list.
- As a result, too much wrongdoings caused the children shame and they would be disciplined by their own guilt.
MIGRATION TO AMERICA
- When Elizabeth was 10 years old, in 1831, a political dilemma happened in their city.
- This caused only 6,000 out of 104,000 people of the population to vote.
- It resulted in many riots when the voting system reform was rejected by the upper house.
- A year after, 1832, Samuel’s sugar refinery caught on fire.
- This lead to his decision to move his family to America.
- The family embarked on the Cosmo liner for a seven week voyage to New York in August.
- In New York, Samuel started a new sugar refinery, named the Congress Sugar Refinery.
- Although refineries was run by slave-labor, Samuel was against it and he even brought his family to anti-slavery fairs.
- When his refinery went bankrupt during the Great Depression, they moved to Cincinnati, Ohio.
- He continued planting sugar beets and fighting against slavery intensive industries.
- Unfortunately, he died in August 1838.
- Elizabeth, at the age of 17, and her sisters started their own school at home, called “The Cincinnati English & French Academy for Young Ladies” to earn money in order to support their family.
TEACHING AND HER TURN TO MEDICINE
- In 1842, even though the sisters’ school has closed, Elizabeth continued educating privately.
- Two years later, she received a teaching post in Henderson, Kentucky – yet she was urged to go back at Cincinnati due to experiencing problems with the state’s issues with slaves.
- Going back to Cincinnati, a friend in the last moments of her life confessed to her that maybe her treatment would be bearable and better if a female doctor treated her.
- The words of her friend resonated in Elizabeth’s mind. She thought that women would be more comfortable to interact and confide their medical situation if they are accompanied and treated by a female doctor.
- Between 1845 and 1847, since medical schools were expensive, Elizabeth decided to teach in slave states again in North and South of Carolina.
- She tried teaching slave children in North Carolina, but it was deemed illegal.
- In a letter to her family in 1845, she wrote:
“I assure you I felt a little odd, sitting down before those degraded little beings, to teach them a religion which the owners professed to follow whilst violating its very first principles…”
HER PURSUIT OF MEDICINE
- Reverend John Dickinson, who was a physician, allowed Elizabeth to study his books in medicine in Asheville, N.C. While in Charleston, S.C, John’s brother, Samuel, who was a professor of medicine, taught and encouraged Elizabeth to continue her efforts to be a physician.
- Later in 1847, she boarded with a physician in Philadelphia where she hoped to study in one of its medical schools.
- Her application kept on being rejected.
- On her 30th application, the Geneva Medical School accepted her. People were shocked when Elizabeth actually matriculated at the college.
- There were people who thought that Elizabeth’s application were only a practical joke played by rival schools.
- Her presence made some classes awkward, being the only woman in the room. For the record, the men around her exhibited well-mannered behavior.
- She graduated at Geneva Medical School at the top of her class, at the age of 28, on January 23, 1849.
CONTRIBUTIONS, LEGACY, AND DEATH
- In 1857, she founded her own hospital, The New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, run with her sister, Emily, who also became a physician.
- At the age of 74, she published her autobiography, Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women, in 1895.
- She was left mentally disabled after falling down a flight of stairs in 1907.
- On May 31, 1910, Elizabeth died at the age of 89 because of a stroke in her home in Hastings.
Elizabeth Blackwell Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Elizabeth Blackwell across 19 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Elizabeth Blackwell worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Elizabeth Blackwell who was known as the first woman to finish and receive a medical degree in the United States of America, making Elizabeth Blackwell the first female doctor in the US.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Elizabeth Blackwell Facts
- Blackwell’s Biography
- From UK to US
- Timeline of Success
- According to Elizabeth
- Women in Medicine
- Bias-Free Society
- Pioneer Photo Collage
- Diploma Design
- Graduation Speech
- Commemorating Elizabeth
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Link will appear as Elizabeth Blackwell Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 1, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.