Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Townsend, Lucy, 1944-

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership and Educational Policy Studies


Blackwell; Elizabeth; 1821-1910; Medical colleges--United States--Admission--History; Women physicians--United States--Biography


In January 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to graduate from an American medical school. This was the first of her many accomplishments, and it was the stepping stone to her future success. In addition to being a practicing physician, Blackwell opened a hospital for women and children in New York, opened the first medical college for women in the United States, became the first woman listed in the British Medical Resister, helped found the British National Health Society, taught gynecology at the London School of Medicine for Women, and wrote and lectured widely on social and medical issues. This thesis is an investigation of Elizabeth Blackwell's early life to determine what factors contributed to her success in earning a degree in medicine. It argues that her character traits, the dynamics of her family and the times in which she lived were all essential ingredients to her becoming a medical doctor. Of these, perhaps the most important were several powerful character traits formed in her childhood. She was extremely determined. She had the ability to control her emotions, and her deeply held religious and moral convictions gave her strength to overcome huge obstacles.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [62]-63)


4, 63 pages




Northern Illinois University

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