November 21, 2017

Today in History: Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell

The Rise of the Physician Feminine
Today in History–January 23–the Library of Congress features career pioneer Elizabeth Blackwell, who graduated from medical school on this date in 1849. She was the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States. Learn more about this trailblazing woman by visiting the Today in History section (scroll down) and clicking through to the links listed below.

Group portrait of members of the Blackwell family outside on a lawn between 1880 and 1893

Letter, Elizabeth Blackwell to Baroness Anne Isabella Milbanke Byron concerning women’s rights and the education of women physicians 4 March 1851

Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women by Elizabeth Blackwell, 1895

Katherine Barry to Anne Fitzhugh Miller enclosing photograph of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell at 86 December 20, 1908

The First Woman Physician, Elizabeth Blackwell Woman’s Journal June 12, 1909

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell historic newspaper articles

Elizabeth Blackwell – That girl there is doctor of medicine (online exhibition with many primary sources from the U.S. National Library of Medicine)

Primary Source Spotlight: Women’s History primary source collections & teaching resources


  1. Malia P. says:

    Dear Primary Sources,

    My name is Malia and I am currently attending a middle school in Washington. For Honors Hummanities, we are required to create a History Search! project, specifically on an influential person or event in history. Moreover, I chose Elizabeth Blackwell to research. In the project guidelines, we are required to receive the opinion of an expert in the certain field. If it’s okay, may I consult with an expert and ask a few questions? (Interview)
    Kind Regards,


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