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 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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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 ...]

Hannah Myers Longshore

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Pioneer Physician and Professor of Anatomy

Hannah Myers Longshore graduated from the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania's first class in 1851 and became Philadelphia's first woman doctor with a medical degree to establish a private practice, which she continued for forty years. She also lectured extensively first at the Female Medical College, and later in public speeches about sexual health [Read More ...]

Ellen Swallow Richards

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Pioneer Chemist and First Woman to Graduate from MIT

The most prominent American woman chemist of the 19th century, Ellen Swallow Richards (1842–1911) was a pioneer in sanitary engineering and the founder of home economics in the United States. She was the first woman admitted to any scientific school in the United States and the first female graduate of MIT. [Read More ...]