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Elizabeth Blackwell

Known worldwide as the first woman to receive her degree as a Doctor of Medicine, Elizabeth Blackwell represents a historic moment in modern medicine and women's liberation. Several years after her family immigrated to the United States, Dr. Blackwell studied privately with independent physicians, an education which culminated at Geneva Medical College in Upstate New York. Upon graduation, Dr. Blackwell founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children. Later, she helped found the National Health Society, was the first woman to be placed on the British Medical Register, and taught at England’s first college of medicine for women. She pioneered in preventive medicine and in the promotion of antisepsis and hygiene.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the coordinate liberal arts schools that continue the legacy of Geneva Medical College, take special pride in claiming Dr. Blackwell as an alumna. Specific information that pertains to her special relationship to Hobart and William Smith is noted throughout the text of this web site.

Today, Dr. Blackwell serves as an important symbol of the barriers that women have overcome and those that remain. This web site has been compiled to provide a centralized archive of information, articles, and studies about her history and her legacy.

The Hobart and William Smith Colleges Archives and Special Collections maintains a more-or-less complete file of original articles about Elizabeth Blackwell. Please contact the Archives at archives@hws.edu or (315) 781-3009 if you would like to obtain an article that is not included here. Additionally, if you know of materials or links that should be added to this site, please e-mail the Office of Communications at Hobart and William Smith Colleges at publicity@hws.edu.