New York City Chapter Event
NYC Chapter Event: Author Webinar: The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women--and Women to Medicine”Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 3‑4pm EDT
Location: Online Webinar - Zoom ID sent 72 hours prior to event
Restricted to members only
Contact: Sandy Merrill
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The world recoiled at the notion of a woman doctor in the 19th century, yet Elizabeth Blackwell persisted―in 1849, she became the first woman in America to receive an MD. Come learn about the pioneering Blackwell sisters and their groundbreaking work.
Janice P Nimura will speak on her dual biography of the groundbreaking sister doctors, Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman in America to receive a medical degree, in 1849. Emily Blackwell, eternally eclipsed, was the third, in 1854. They prevailed against fierce resistance from the male establishment, moving among Britain, France, and America during a tumultuous time of scientific discovery and civil war.
Together they founded the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children in NYC, the first hospital staffed entirely by women. Both sisters were tenacious and visionary; they were also judgmental, uncompromising, and occasionally misogynistic. In this webinar, Nimura will discuss the challenges of reintroducing these often forgotten figures, reframing their story as two pioneers instead of one and resisting idolizing her subjects. Her book on the Blackwells will be published by W.W. Norton in January 2021.
Janice P. Nimura received a Public Scholar Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities in support of her work on The Doctors Blackwell. Her previous book, Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back, was a New York Times Notable book in 2015. Her essays and book reviews have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Salon, and LitHub, among other publications.
“The one thing I know I’ll never be is a historian,” she told her college guidance counselor in 1988. She thought she wanted to be a doctor, but life intervened: she majored in English at Yale, worked in publishing, moved to Japan with her Tokyo-born husband, and completed an M.A. in East Asian studies at Columbia upon their return to her native New York. She grew into an understanding that history is made of stories and fell in love with archival treasure-hunting, especially when it led to the forgotten lives of border-crossing nineteenth-century women. Her first book grew out of her personal interest in the earliest encounters between Japan and the United States. In her latest project she circles back to her first interest in medicine, in the context of her work in women’s history.
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