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NIH Record - 75th Anniversary - National Institutes of Health

NLM Observes Women’s History Month

Closeup of Blackwell, black and white drawing

Portrait of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, who in 1849 became the first woman to earn an M.D. degree from an American medical school.

Photo: NLM

During the month of March, NLM is featuring historic medical books written by women as part of its daily tours of the library and the banner exhibition Rise, Serve, Lead! America’s Women Physicians, which is based on the new website of the same name.   

Yellowed cover page of Crumpler’s A Book of Medical Discourses, 1883

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler’s A Book of Medical Discourses, 1883

Photo: NLM

The books include Medicine as a Profession for Women (1860) by Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell, who argue that opening medicine to women would benefit both women and men, and A Book of Medical Discourses (1883) by Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first African-American woman to write a medical text. She describes domestic remedies for ailments, how to care for a newborn and general scientific information about anatomy and development. The banner exhibition highlights women breaking barriers, healing communities, advocating, leading and nurturing the future. 

Tours of NLM begin at 1:30 p.m. in the Visitor Center, Bldg. 38A. The banner exhibition on women physicians is on display in the lobby of Bldg. 38. Both are free and open to the public. For viewing more historic texts by women, complete the NLM visitor tour form online at

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