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An elaborate practical joke

Elizabeth Blackwell wanted to go to medical school. She’d been reading medicine at home, but wanted proper training and formal education. She was rejected from all the first-rate schools, and most of the rest. Only one medical school even considered her application. When the Geneva Medical College received her application, the administration asked the students whether they’d be willing to work with her. The students thought it was a practical joke and agreed.

Not so, and when Elizabeth Blackwell showed up for school she met with a great deal of hostility. She was persistent, doing all the hands-on work along with the men in her class, and on 11 January 1849 Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to earn a medical degree.

Abolitionist, feminist, doctor – Elizabeth Blackwell was a woman of strong convictions and very ready to act on them. She wrote, taught, treated, advocated for what she believed in. And by becoming the first female doctor she led the way: by 2005 nearly half of all US medical school graduates were women.

Elizabeth Blackwell

You can learn more about Dr. Blackwell from the NIH here or here.


That’s right, it’s Ada Lovelace Day again. You can also read last year’s post.

One Comment

  1. Ming says:

    Dear Friends, Happy Fool’s Day!!!

    Patient: My hair keeps falling out. What can you give me to keep it in?
    Doctor: A shoebox.

    Happy April Fool’s Day!

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