Book Recommendation: ‘The Doctors Blackwell’ by Janice P. Nimura

Recommended by JEANINE BRENNAN, Manager, Egg Harbor Library Branch

March is Women’s History Month and a time to celebrate women who have pushed boundaries, influenced change and redefined roles. 

In 1849, 29-year-old Elizabeth Blackwell became a medical doctor, and five years later, her younger sister Emily earned the same degree. During the next two decades, the two women went on to establish the first hospital run for and by women, and the first women’s medical college with training as rigorous as men received. 

This is not just an account of the Blackwell sisters’ struggle to become doctors, but also a story of 19th-century medicine and women’s-rights history in America and Europe.

Nimura conducted meticulous research for this book and includes large amounts of the Blackwells’ letters and information from other primary sources such as newspapers, diaries and school administrative records. Nimura is a master storyteller, which is a complex feat for a well-researched nonfiction account.

I highly recommend this readable book to all who have an interest in 19th-century history, women’s studies and/or girl power. This is the selection for March of the Egg Harbor book club Between the Pages.

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