The Blackwell Sisters and the Harrowing History of Modern Medicine

January 26, 2021

(The New Yorker) – The Blackwells were medical pioneers, but, except for a few professional awards named in their honor and a plaque commemorating the location of their infirmary, they have largely been forgotten. A new biography by the writer Janice P. Nimura, “The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine” (Norton), attempts to redress that situation by considering their lives in the broader history of medicine and social reform. It is an admirable project, even though, as the story of the Blackwells makes clear, context is not always flattering.