Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sarah Ann Hackett Stevenson

Born this day in 1841: Sarah Ann Hackett Stevenson (1841–1909), first woman admitted to the American Medical Association

Stevenson, a native of Illinois, was educated at the Mount Carroll Seminary and the State Normal University of Illinois. After graduating in 1863 she taught school for a few years and also served as a principal.
She then began studying at the Woman’s Hospital and Medical College of Chicago, earning an M.D. in 1874. After graduating she entered private practice in Chicago. In 1876 the Illinois State Medical Society elected her as a delegate to the American Medical Association convention in Philadelphia, and for the first time AMA seated a woman delegate.
That was the first of several firsts Stevenson accomplished during her career: she was the first woman on the staff of Chicago’s Cook County Hospital (1881) and the first woman appointed to the Illinois State Board of Health (1893).
In addition to practicing medicine, she was a professor at the Woman’s Hospital and Medical College (1875–1894) and helped found a training school for nurses. She wrote a high school textbook, Boys and Girls in Biology (1875), and a popular work called The Physiology of Woman (1880).
She adhered to the values of the New Woman and was also active in Chicago’s women’s clubs. She once championed the admission of an African American member and was known widely as a humanitarian.

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