Pioneer for Women in the Medical Professions

Mary Putnam Jacobi was a prominent physician, author, scientist, activist, educator, and perhaps most importantly, a staunch advocate of women's right to seek medical education and training. Men in medicine claimed that a medical education would make women physically ill, and that women physicians endangered their profession. Jacobi worked to prove them wrong and argued that it was social restrictions that threatened female health.

Image: Mary Corinna Putnam as a medical student, 1860s

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First Woman Eye Surgeon and Prison Reform Activist

Image: Dr. Bella Chapin Barrows
Credit: Hartland Historical Society
Artist unknown

Dr. Bella Chapin Barrows accomplished many firsts in her 68 years of life. She was the first woman employed by the U.S. State Department, first woman to have a private medical practice in Washington DC, first woman ophthalmologist (a specialist in eye ailments) in the United States, first woman eye surgeon, and first woman professor at a medical school …Read More...

First African American Woman Doctor in New York

Only five years after the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constition abolished slavery in the United States, Susan McKinney Steward graduated from medical school and became the first African American woman physician in New York and only the third black female doctor in the country. She practiced medicine in Brooklyn and Manhattan most of her life.

Early Years
Susan Maria Smith was born in Brooklyn, New York in the year 1847. She …Read More...

First Woman Doctor in the Confederate Army

Dr. Oriana Moon Andrews was a remarkable woman who served as the first female doctor in the Confederate Army. After the Civil War, she was physician to women and children, but her family had to move so frequently she was not able to establish a consistent practice. Chronic illness and childbirth at an advanced age ended her life much too soon.

Image: Dr. Oriana Moon Andrews in 1861
With her husband, Dr. …Read More...