Today’s Google doodle marks the 197th birthday of the British-born physician Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in the US to earn a medical degree.
After moving to the states from Bristol, England, Blackwell worked as a teacher. Her propensity to take a stand against social norms — and fight for what was right — was evident during her time teaching.
“Early on, she asserted her moral convictions: when a teaching position in Kentucky exposed her to the brutality of slavery for the first time, she set up a Sunday school for slaves and became a staunch abolitionist,” writes Google on the Google Doodle Blog.
According to Google, Blackwell wanted to become a physician after the death of a friend, believing a female physician would have lessened her friend’s suffering. She received numerous rejections from medical schools but was eventually accepted into New York’s Geneva Medical College.
An abolitionist and champion of women’s rights, Blackwell would go on to create a women-governed infirmary, start two medical colleges for females and act as a mentor for several in her field.
Google’s doodle leads to a search for “Elizabeth Blackwell” and was designed by the artist Harriet Lee Merrion.
“Her illustration shows Blackwell in the midst of her pioneering practice and celebrates the significant positive impact she had on the lives of people around the world,” writes Google of Merrion’s artwork.
Google shared a few of Merrion’s early drafts of the doodle in its blog post about Blackwell:
Google says that Merrion currently lives in Bristol, where she often rides her bike past the house where Blackwell grew up before moving to the US.