Mary Putnam Jacobi

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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 [Read More ...]

Josephine Sophia White Griffing

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Activist in the Abolitionist and Women's Rights Movements

Image: Family of Slaves
Washington, DC, 1861

Josephine Sophia White Griffing was a social reform activist who campaigned for the abolition of slavery and women's rights. In 1864, she moved to our nation's capital to help the newly freed slaves who were streaming into the capital by the thousands. Griffing worked [Read More ...]

Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin

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Journalist and Founder of African American Women's Clubs

Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin was an African American leader, a publisher, journalist and editor of Women's Era, the first newspaper published by and for African American women. She was an abolitionist and suffragist, and she is perhaps best remembered for her role in establishing clubs for African American women.

Early Years
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Spotsylvania Court House in the Civil War

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Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

On May 7, 1864, after two days of brutal fighting failed to produce a victory at The Wilderness, previous Union commanders would have chosen to withdraw behind the Rappahannock River. But General Ulysses S. Grant ordered General George Meade to move around Lee's right flank and seize the important crossroads at Spotsylvania Court House to [Read More ...]

Bella Chapin Barrows

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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 [Read More ...]

Susan McKinney Steward

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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 [Read More ...]