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Janice P. Nimura
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine

Research and writing leading to publication of a dual biography of Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) and her sister Emily Blackwell (1826-1910), pioneering women in American medicine.

A biography of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in America to receive a medical degree (1849), and her younger sister Emily, who received her degree five years later. Together they founded the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, which they expanded to include a women's medical college a decade later. Their world included eccentric siblings, iconoclastic sisters-in-law--Lucy Stone and Antoinette Brown, two of the most outspoken feminists of the era--and acquaintances like Florence Nightingale, Horace Greeley, Henry Ward Beecher, and Lady Byron. The New York Infirmary became the crucible for such medical pioneers as Marie Zakrzewska, Mary Putnam Jacobi, and Sophia Jex-Blake. The Blackwells' story is emblematic of the dawning of a new consciousness for women, both ideological and physical, including contradictions regarding the meaning of feminism as relevant in 2017 as they were in the nineteenth century.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
History of Science; U.S. History; Women's History

Public Scholars

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018