It is not easy to be a pioneer - but oh, it is fascinating!

Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell was the first American woman to receive a degree in medicine. Despite being excluded by professors and classmates alike, Blackwell graduated at the top of her class in 1849. She interned at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, where she met Florence Nightingale, and the two women fought together for better hospital conditions. Blackwell then returned to New York, where she opened a small clinic to serve disadvantaged women and children. During the Civil War, she trained nurses for Union hospitals, and in 1868 she opened a medical college, eventually becoming a professor of gynecology. She published several books in her later years, including an autobiography in 1895, which recounts her difficult but fascinating pioneering work.