Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell

by Tanya Lee Stone and Marjorie Priceman

When Elizabeth Blackwell was growing up in the 1830s and early 1840s, women doctors... read more

When Elizabeth Blackwell was growing up in the 1830s and early 1840s, women doctors were unheard of. As a child, Elizabeth never thought about studying medicine, although she was hardly a girl to turn down a challenge. Maybe that's why she couldn't let go of the idea once an older female friend suggested it to her. A young woman by then, Elizabeth was intrigued. Some people supported her, but others laughed, which made her more determined. She applied to medical schools and received 28 rejections: No women allowed. "She refused to give up. She was as stubborn as a mule. Quite rightly!" Finally she received a "yes," from a school that had let their male students decide. The students had done it as a joke. Elizabeth showed them it was no laughing matter. She graduated in 1849 with the highest grades in her class, the first woman doctor in America. Spirited illustrations accompany this lively picture book account that ends with Elizabeth Blackwell ready to launch her career. An author's note tells of the continued resistance Elizabeth initially faced practicing medicine, and her pioneering work providing medical services for poor women and children and establishing a hospital and medical colleges for women. (Ages 6-9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2014

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