Elizabeth Blackwell was born in Bristol, England. She had many brothers and sisters, but she was not the youngest. Since Elizabeth and her sisters were girls Miss Major was the only one who would teach them.
Elizabeth’s father was fun and loving, and he owned the biggest sugar refinery in Bristol, but when Elizabeth was ten years old there were a lot of money problems in her dad's company. Elizabeth, her mother, Miss Major, the servants, and Elizabeth’s brothers and sisters all moved to the country home to get away from the danger. Father met up with them a couple days later. His plant had been burned to the ground. In August of 1832, Elizabeth and her family set sail for America. When Elizabeth was eleven her family settled in Manhattan, which is known today as New York City. Then her father raised enough money and they bought a house in New Jersey. Uncle Charles came to America and married Miss Major.
In 1837 hard times came to America. In 1838, Elizabeth’s father went to see the Ohio River Valley, and when he came back he announced that they were all moving to Cincinnati, Ohio. It was a long hard trip, but when they got there they found a house and furniture. They had asked a friend back home to sell their house and send them the money, but the friend sold the house and disappeared with the money. Suddenly, Elizabeth’s father died leaving the family with debts, bills, and only twenty-five dollars in cash. The family had to make money quick, so the girls opened a school and the boys got jobs. The boys made so much money the girls were able to close their school.
Elizabeth walked around the house for days wondering what to do with her life.
One day, she was visiting her mother’s sick friend when the lady said that she could be the first woman doctor. Elizabeth agreed. Everyone was shocked to hear her new goal. "Impossible—a woman doctor—never!" was everybody’s reaction.
Elizabeth went to a medical library to start her studies. She worked long hours and memorized over two hundred bones and four hundred muscles. Then Elizabeth went to study with Dr. Dickson, who was amazed by her medical knowledge. Many people prejudged Elizabeth, which made things very hard. Elizabeth then went to Dr. Elders private study and he was also amazed by her knowledge. The search for a medical school that would admit her continued. Dr. Allen, another doctor that Elizabeth studied under, taught her how to disect. Soon, good news came. Elizabeth was accepted to a medical college.
In 1847, Elizabeth entered Geneva Medical College in New York. She was unwelcome and she wasn’t even allowed in the classroom until Dr. Webser, the teacher, arrived. Then, everyone at the college was nice to her because he was nice to her. Elizabeth worked hard and was very lonely. She even spent holidays alone.
Over the summer, Elizabeth got a job at Blockly Arm House, which was a real challenge because she had to figure out what was wrong with the patients. Elizabeth was glad to go back to Geneva. It was like home, even though nasty gossip was still said about her.
When Elizabeth received her medical degree, she was honored greatly because she was the first female to receive her medical degree. Elizabeth went to Paris to continue her studies.
Elizabeth entered La Maternite. From that point on, it was long hours and hard days.
Elizabeth thought about becoming the first woman surgeon until she got Pinkeye from a baby. She had special care, but that didn’t help one bit. Elizabeth went blind in her left eye. Now her dream of being a surgeon was shattered. Elizabeth’s left eye had to be removed in order to save her right eye. By October 1850, Elizabeth was fitted with a glass eye. Elizabeth lost nine months of training. A letter came from home saying that Emily was following in her footsteps.
When Elizabeth went to London, she met three girls who greatly admired her. The girls visited regularly and soon it was like they were Elizabeth’s sisters. One day, another girl knocked on her door. This girl was Florence Nightingale. Florence and Elizabeth became good friends,