The Doctors Blackwell Book Summary - The Doctors Blackwell Book explained in key points

The Doctors Blackwell summary

Janice P. Nimura

Brief summary

The Doctors Blackwell tells the remarkable story of Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell, the first women to earn medical degrees in the United States, and their pioneering efforts to advance women in medicine.

Give Feedback
Table of Contents

    The Doctors Blackwell
    Summary of key ideas

    The Rise of Pioneering Women in Medicine

    In The Doctors Blackwell, Janice P. Nimura presents an enthralling narrative about two trailblazing sisters, Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell. The sisters didn't merely become doctors; they actively challenged the perceptions and prejudices of their time, redefining the role of women in medicine. Driven initially by a fierce desire to prove that women could compete on an equal footing with men, Elizabeth Blackwell pursued medicine, becoming the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States.

    Facing many steep obstacles and dismissive attitudes, Elizabeth refused to be discouraged. Her tenacity saw her through Geneva Medical College in 1849, where her acceptance had initially been treated as a joke by her peers. She faced alienation and skepticism, but her belief in women's potential in the medical field never wavered.

    A Shared Vision

    When Emily, the third Blackwell sister, expressed her own interest in medicine, Elizabeth was initially skeptical. She doubted whether Emily shared her commitment to defy societal norms. However, Emily was just as ambitious and soon proved her determination by joining her sister in the harsh world of medicine, standing up to disdain and bigotry with grace and perseverance. Emily completed her medical course in 1854, and together, the sisters embarked on a mission to create a place wholly devoted to the care of women, by women.

    The Blackwell sisters’ shared vision led to the establishment of the New York Infirmary for Women and Children in 1857. The infirmary served two purposes: it provided care for the poor from female doctors, and it gave female medical graduates a place to gain experience, a chance they were often denied in other establishments.

    Expanding Influence and Inspiring Change

    With their infirmary on a firm footing, the Blackwell sisters widened their sphere of influence. Elizabeth headed to England to advance their cause. There, she became the first woman to be listed on the British medical register, boosting her influence and raising more support for their mission. Meanwhile, back in the States, Emily took the helm of the infirmary, ensuring its continued growth.

    Emily’s leadership saw the infirmary evolve into the Women's Medical College of the New York Infirmary in 1868. This fully accredited medical school offered an education to women who were refused entry elsewhere, further fulfilling the Blackwell sisters' ambition of providing equal opportunities in the medical field for women.

    A Lasting Legacy

    The close of the 19th century saw the retirement of the Blackwell sisters. However, their influence was far from diminishing. They had ushered in a new era of acceptance and opportunity for women in the medical field and left a lasting legacy that continues to inspire.

    The Doctors Blackwell is not just a story of two sisters; it is a portrayal of relentless determination and bold ambition. It chronicles their challenge against a deeply entrenched system and their resounding success in pioneering a path for women in medicine. Ultimately, their legacy serves as a reminder of what can be achieved when passion, perseverance, and principle align.

    Give Feedback
    How do we create content on this page?
    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The Doctors Blackwell about?

    This book tells the inspiring true story of Elizabeth Blackwell and her sister Emily, who became the first and third female doctors in the United States. Set in the 19th century, it explores their determination to break through gender barriers in the medical field and their pioneering efforts to improve healthcare for women. It is a fascinating account of their remarkable achievements and the challenges they faced along the way.

    The Doctors Blackwell Review

    The Doctors Blackwell (2021) is a captivating biography that explores the lives of Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell, the first female doctors in America. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It delves into the pioneering journey of Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell, shedding light on the challenges they faced and the impact they made on medicine.
    • By challenging societal norms and persistently pursuing their dreams, the Blackwell sisters paved the way for future generations of women in the medical field.
    • The book offers a fascinating insight into the history of medicine, highlighting the significant changes and progress that occurred during the sisters' lifetimes.

    Who should read The Doctors Blackwell?

    • Readers interested in the history of medicine
    • Individuals curious about the experiences of women in the field of medicine
    • Those looking for inspiring stories of overcoming societal barriers to achieve success

    About the Author

    Janice P. Nimura is an award-winning author and historian. She has written extensively on the topic of women's history, with a focus on the 19th century. Nimura's book, "The Doctors Blackwell," explores the remarkable lives of Elizabeth Blackwell and her sister Emily, who were pioneers in the field of medicine. Through meticulous research and engaging storytelling, Nimura brings to life the challenges and triumphs of these groundbreaking women. Her work sheds light on the often overlooked contributions of female trailblazers in history.

    Categories with The Doctors Blackwell

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    30 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    The Doctors Blackwell FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Doctors Blackwell?

    The inspiring story of the first female doctors in America, Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell, who defied societal norms to pursue careers in medicine.

    How long does it take to read The Doctors Blackwell?

    The reading time for The Doctors Blackwell varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Doctors Blackwell a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Doctors Blackwell is a captivating book that sheds light on the remarkable lives of Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell. It is definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of The Doctors Blackwell?

    The author of The Doctors Blackwell is Janice P. Nimura.

    What to read after The Doctors Blackwell?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Doctors Blackwell, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Mandela’s Way by Richard Stengel
    • Emergency by Neil Strauss
    • The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz
    • The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
    • Things a Little Bird Told Me by Biz Stone
    • Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
    • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
    • The Man Who Fed the World by Leon Hesser
    • Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson
    • The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum