Elizabeth Blackwell takes up career in teaching

After the death of her father, Blackwell took up a career in teaching in Kentucky.

She did this to make money to pay for medical school. Blackwell found this work unpleasant. Desiring to apply herself to the practice of medicine, she took up residence in a physician's household, using her time there to study from the family's medical library. She became active in the anti-slavery movement (as did her brother Henry Brown Blackwell who married Lucy Stone, a suffragist). Another brother, Samuel Charles Blackwell, married another important figure in women's rights, Antoinette Brown.

In 1842 Blackwell accepted a teaching position in Henderson, Ky., but local racial attitudes offended her strong abolitionist convictions, and she resigned at the end of the year. On her return to Cincinnati a friend who had undergone treatment for a gynecological disorder told Blackwell that if she could have been treated by a woman doctor she would have been spared an embarrassing ordeal, and she urged Elizabeth to study medicine.

In 1842 Elizabeth Blackwell accepted a teaching position in Henderson, Kentucky, but local racial attitudes offended her strong abolitionist beliefs and she resigned at the end of the year. On her return to Cincinnati, a friend who had undergone treatment for a gynecological disorder (having to do with women's reproductive organs) told Blackwell that if a woman doctor had treated her, she would have been spared an embarrassing ordeal. She also urged Elizabeth to study medicine. At first Blackwell disregarded the idea of becoming a doctor. But eventually her ideas changed, and the thought of becoming a doctor turned into an obsession. Friends discouraged her, though, and even recommended that, if she chose to study medicine, her best choice was to move to France, disguise herself as a man, and only then would she be accepted into medical school.

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