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There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.



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January 23

Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman in the US to earn a MD degree in 1849.

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Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman in the US to earn a MD degree in 1849.

Grades 3 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Historical Figure & Event





Elizabeth Blackwell was not only the first woman in the United States to graduate from medical school, earning an MD degree, she also graduated first in her class. Blackwell served as a doctor for the Union Army during the Civil War. After the war, she founded the Women's Medical College in New York with her sister Emily Blackwell, who had also become a doctor. Elizabeth Blackwell died May 31, 1910.




Elizabeth Blackwell applied to 16 colleges before she was admitted to the Medical Institution of Geneva College, in New York. When she died in 1910, more than 7,000 women had earned medical degrees, and all of them had Dr. Blackwell to thank for going first and working as an advocate for women in the medical profession.

With your class, explore other famous firsts. Begin by brainstorming a list of people who have done something "first" (i.e., the first person on the moon, the first woman to run for national elected office, the first Latino to win the Nobel Prize). To start your list, check out this month's entries on Amelia Earhart and Jackie Robinson. Once you've collected a list of firsts, divide your class into small groups to conduct some research into the lives of one of these people. Have each group design a multimedia presentation to report their research results to the rest of the class.





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Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

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Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

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Grades   K – 2  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

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