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Annual announcement of the New-England Female Medical College (detail of title page), 1860, Francis A. Countway Library, Harvard Medical School

Boston Female Medical College 1848

The first medical school for women opened in Boston, Massachusetts, on this date in 1848. It was started by Samuel Gregory, who named it the Boston Female Medical College. The first class – 12 women in all – graduated just two years later, in 1850. Gregory’s own formal medical training consisted of a summer lecture course that he had taken in anatomy and physiology. He wasn’t remotely a supporter of women’s rights, but he believed it was unseemly for male doctors to assist women in childbirth, so the college was mostly intended to serve as a school for midwives at first. In 1856, the school’s name was changed to the New England Female Medical College; it named among its graduates Rebecca Lee Crumper, the first African-American to earn a medical degree, which she did in 1864.  Continue reading

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