Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Female Doctor


In 1859 Elizabeth Garrett Anderson returned home from a short vacation. At this time she made an announcement so shocking her mother cried for days in humiliation and her father declared it disgusting; she had simply informed them she was going to be a doctor. Victorian women of the upper-middle class were expected to prepare for domestic lives as wives and mothers. In mid-nineteenth century England, professional careers were unheard of for females. Although the British-born Elizabeth Blackwell had become the first female to earn an M. D. in America, where she set up a practice, measures were quickly taken to ensure that England would no longer honor foreign degrees. To achieve her dream, Anderson had to fight against this strict social order, as well as face the fierce opposition of the medical establishment.