Friday Morning Bookclub

October 6, 2010

My Name Is Mary Sutter- Interesting Facts About The First Female Doctor

Filed under: Historical Fiction,My Name Is Mary Sutter — susanbright @ 4:15 pm

In this month’s book, Mary Sutter is a midwife who dreams of being a doctor at a time when it was ALMOST impossible to get into medical school. Mary travels to D.C. hoping to find someone willing to teach her about medicine. The country is in the midst of The Civil War and Mary finds herself working in ill equipted hospitals not only changing linens but also taking care of the injured soldiers including aiding with amputations.

In reality, the first woman to graduate from medical school was Elizabeth Blackwell. Elizabeth was born in England in 1821 long before the factitious  Mary Sutter. She came to the United States with her family and became a teacher.  In 1847, after teaching in schools in Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina, Elizabeth began applying to medical schools. She was interested in meeting the needs of women who she felt would be more comfortable seeing a female doctor. After being turned down numerous times, Elizabeth applied to the Geneva Medical College in New York. When the Administration asked the students input as to whether she should be accepted, they assumed it was a joke and said yes! Elizabeth graduated first in her class from Geneva Medical College in 1849. After graduating she provided free outpatient care to women and children and in 1857 opened the New York Infirmary For Women and Children.  Elizabeth and her sister organized the Women’s Central Association of Relief, which helped with selecting as well as training nurses during the Civil War.


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