Monday Ms. Stories: Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell

Monday Ms. Stories is a feature that focuses on the women of Onondaga County’s past that many may have either forgotten, haven’t heard of, or don’t know much about.

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell (1821 – 1910) Elizabeth Blackwell was born in Bristol, England in 1821 and immigrated to New York City with her family when she was eleven. The Geneva (NY) Medical School, which later became Syracuse University, finally accepted her application since they thought Blackwell’s application was a practical joke.  They were shocked when they learned that Blackwell was serious about studying medicine, but she earned their respect with her persistence and dedication to learning medicine. Blackwell graduated first in her class and became the first woman to graduate from medical school in the United States on January 23, 1849. During the American Civil War, Blackwell was instrumental in developing the U.S. Sanitary Commission, which cared for sick and wounded soldiers. Blackwell also helped with opening the Women’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary in 1868.  Blackwell returned to England in 1869 to help form the National Health Society and the London School of Medicine for Women

“It is not easy to be a pioneer – but oh, it is fascinating! I would not trade one moment, even the worst moment, for all the riches in the world.” – attributed to Elizabeth Blackwell

For more on this amazing individual, visit