Susan La Flesche Picotte was born in June 1865 on the lands of the Omaha Nation, in what is now called Nebraska. She spoke not only Omaha and Otoe, but also French and English; and she learned Omaha traditions and then attended boarding schools off the reservation. She attended the Hampton Institute, a historically black college that opened its doors to Native American students around the time that La Flesche attended. Throughout her life, she recognized that her dual cultures enhanced her ability to heal and advocate for those in need. she attended the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, from which she graduated in 1889 at the top of her class. She became the first Native American person to earn a medical degree; the sole doctor on the Omaha reservation during a flurry of epidemics; and an advocate for the rights of her people. This list of accomplishments would be impressive at any time, but especially during the turn of the century, when women were relegated to domestic duties and Native Americans were not considered citizens.
For more information, please see Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte
Rebecca Lee Crumpler was a nurse who became the first black woman in the United States to receive an MD degree from the New England Female Medical College in Boston, Massachusetts in 1864. After the Civil War, Crumpler moved to Richmond, Virginia, where she worked with other black doctors who were caring for formerly enslaved people in the Freedmen’s Bureau. Crumpler also wrote A Book of Medical Discourses: In Two Parts. Published in 1883, the book addresses children’s and women’s health and is written for “mothers, nurses, and all who may desire to mitigate the afflictions of the human race.”
For more information, please see Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler
This video describes Saint Teresa of Calcutta's work and life events.
This video showcases the life of Clarissa Barton, known as Clara, who risked her life to bring supplies and support to soldiers in the field during the Civil War. She founded the American Red Cross in 1881, at age 59, and led it for the next 23 years. She opened paths to the new field of volunteer service.
For more information, please see Clara Barton
Margaret Jessie Chung was born in Santa Barbara, California in 1889. Her parents had immigrated from China as young children. She worked her way through college and medical school at the University of Southern California. Dr. Margaret Chung was the first Chinese American woman to become a physician. She founded one of the first Western medical clinics in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1920s.
For more information, please see Dr. Margaret Chung
Ethel Percy Andrus was the first female school principal in California. She cared for both her parents. First, she helped care for ther father, who became blind. Later, when her mother required extensive care, she left the workforce to care for her. She was the founder of the American Association of Retired Persons, commonly referred to as AARP. The early days of AARP started as an organization for retired teachers but in 1958 expanded to include all retirees. Ethel was passionate about providing independence and dignity for older Americans.
For more information, please see Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus