Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

Infobox Medical Person
name =Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

box_width =
image_width = 250px
caption =Elizabeth Garrett Anderson
birth_date =birth date|1836|6|9|df=y
birth_place =Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England
death_date =death date and age|1917|12|17|1836|6|9|df=y
death_place =
profession =Physician
specialism =
research_field =
known_for =Being the first woman to gain a medical qualification in Britain
Creating a medical school for women
years_active =
education =Studied privately with physicians in London hospitals
work_institutions =New Hospital for Women
London School of Medicine for Women
prizes =
relations =Louisa Garrett Anderson (Daughter)

Dr. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, LSA, MD (June 9 1836 – December 17 1917), was an English physician and feminist, the first woman to gain a medical qualification in Britain.


Garrett was the daughter of Newson Garrett, of Aldeburgh, Suffolk, where she was born in 1836, and the sister of Millicent Fawcett. She was also the cousin of Elizabeth Dunnell who married Richard Garrett III the famous owner of Richard Garrett & Sons. Elizabeth was educated at home and at a private school. In 1860 she resolved to study medicine, an almost unheard-of thing for a woman at that time, and regarded by some as almost indecent. Having obtained some more or less irregular instruction at the Middlesex Hospital, London, she was refused admission as a full student both there and at many other medical schools to which she applied. Finally she studied anatomy privately at the London Hospital, and with some of the professors at the University of St Andrews, and at the Edinburgh Extra-Mural school. She had no less difficulty in gaining a qualifying diploma to practise medicine. London University, the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons, and many other examining bodies refused to admit her to their examinations; but in the end the Society of Apothecaries allowed her to enter for the Licence of Apothecaries' Hall, which she obtained in 1865. This entitled her to have her name entered on the medical register, the second woman after Elizabeth Blackwell, and the first woman qualified in Britain to do so.

In 1866 she was appointed general medical attendant to St Mary's Dispensary, a London institution started to enable poor women to obtain medical help from qualified practitioners of their own sex. The dispensary soon developed into the New Hospital for Women, and there Dr Garrett worked for over twenty years. In 1870 she obtained the University of Paris degree of MD, three months after Frances Hoggan obtained that qualification. [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/mid/sites/brecon_life/pages/franceshoggan.shtml BBC - Mid Wales Brecon Life - Pioneering Physician ] ] The same year she was elected to the first London School Board, at the head of the poll for Marylebone, and was also made one of the visiting physicians of the East London Hospital for Children; but the duties of these two positions she found to be incompatible with her principal work, and she soon resigned them. She also built a medical school for woman.

In 1871 she married James George Skelton Anderson (d. 1907) of the Orient Steamship Company co-owned by his uncle Arthur Anderson, but she did not give up her practice. She had three children, Louisa, Margaret who died of meningitis, and Alan. Louisa also became a pioneering doctor of medicine and social campaigner.

In 1873 she gained membership of the British Medical Association and remained the only woman member for 19 years, due to the Association's vote against the admission of further women — "one of several instances where Garrett, uniquely, was able to enter a hitherto all male medical institution which subsequently moved formally to exclude any women who might seek to follow her." [M. A. Elston, "Anderson, Elizabeth Garrett (1836–1917)", "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Oct 2005 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/30406, accessed 4 Feb 2007] ]

Elizabeth worked steadily at the development of the New Hospital for Women, and (from 1874) at the creation of the London School of Medicine for Women. Both institutions have since been handsomely and suitably housed and equipped, the New hospital for Women (in the Euston Road) for many years being worked entirely by medical women, and the schools (in Hunter Street, WC1) having over 200 students, most of them preparing for the medical degree of London University (the present-day University College London), which was opened to women in 1877. In 1897 Dr Garrett Anderson was elected president of the East Anglian branch of the British Medical Association.

On 9 November 1908 she was elected mayor of Aldeburgh, the first female mayor in England.

The movement for the admission of women to the medical profession, of which Dr Anderson was the indefatigable pioneer in England, extended in her lifetime to all of North America and Europe, except for Spain and Turkey. She died in 1917 and is buried in Aldeburgh.

* The New Hospital for Women was renamed the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in 1918 and amalgamated with the Obstetric Hospital in 2001 to form the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Obstetric Hospital [http://www.uclh.nhs.uk/Our+hospitals/Elizabeth+Garrett+Anderson+and+Obstetric+Hospital.htm UCLH - Our hospitals - Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Obstetric Hospital] ] .
* She took part in the Suffrage movement.
* There is a ward at the Royal Free Hospital called the Garrett Anderson ward, specialising in infectious and respiratory diseases.
* In 1861 Elizabeth visited her family accompanied by her friend Emily Davies. Sitting by the fireside with her sister Millicent they selected careers for advancing the frontiers of women's rights, Elizabeth took Medicine, Emily took education, and 13 year old Milly was allocated politics and votes for women. [Leslie Abdella, BBC Radio 4 / Great Lives]
* There is a campaign underway to redevelop part of the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital, details of which are available at http://www.egaforwomen.org.uk

ee also

* History of feminism
* London School of Medicine for Women
* Sophia Jex-Blake
* Women in medicine


* M. A. Elston, "Anderson, Elizabeth Garrett (1836–1917)", "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Oct 2005 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/30406, accessed 4 Feb 2007]
* Manton, Jo. "Elizabeth Garrett Anderson: England's first woman physician". Methuen, London 1965
* Long, Tony, " [http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2007/09/dayintech_0928 Sept. 28, 1865: England Gets Its First Woman Physician, the Hard Way] , "Wired.com", Wired Magazine, September 272007.



External links

* [http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WandersonE.htm Elizabeth Garrett Anderson]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/garrett_anderson_elizabeth.shtml BBC page on Elizabeth Garrett Anderson]
* [http://www.flickr.com/photos/richardjgibson/602289814/ Picture of The United Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital and Hospital for Women Soho, near Euston Station in London.]

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