A Male Contemporary: Samuel Dickson

The male contemporary I chose for my primary scientist, Elizabeth Blackwell,  is Samuel Henry Dickson. I had a few options when it came to picking a male physician that had worked with Blackwell; I ended up having to decided between Samuel Dickson and his brother John Dickson. Both aided Blackwell in her studies; John mentored her while she lived in Ashville, North Carolina, and Samuel guided her when she moved to Charleston, South Carolina in 1846. I chose Samuel because Elizabeth went to medical school shortly after her time with him.

Elizabeth Blackwell and Samuel Dickson were both physicians. Though they had the same career, they had many differences in their lives. Elizabeth Blackwell was born Feb. 23rd, 1821. She was the 3rd oldest of 7th children. She never desired marriages, but adopted an orphan, Katharine Barry, in 1854. She applied to 29 medical schools through New York and Pennsylvania, but was only accepted to one, Gevena Medical College. She graduated with an medical degree in 1849, and became the 1st woman doctor. She had applied for several positions as a phsyician, but was not hired because she was a woman, though she did become a professor at the New York Infirimary and College for Women, and was offered a position at the Lodon School of Medicine for Women teaching gynecology. She founded both of those schools, in addition to establishing the US Sanitary Commission and the New York Dispensary for Poor Women and Children. She is also the 1st woman listed in the British Medical Register. Samuel Dickson was born Sept. 20th, 1798. His brother John, was a reverend and physician. Samuel married 3 times and had 8 children. He attended Yale (graduated in 1814) and the University of Pennsylvania (graduated in 1819). He was offered professorships at Medical College in Charleston, South Carolina, which he had founded, the University of Pennsylvania, and Jeffereson Medical College in Philidelphia.  Both Blackwell and Dickson are the authors of several books and essays. They also both died on March 31st: Dickson in 1872, and Blackwell in 1910.

I do believe that in some ways gender effected their carreers. Samuel Dickson was offered several professorships even to schools that he had not founded nor attended, whereas the only places that Elizabeth Blackwell taught at were the medical schools she had founded, and they were all girl institutions. Blackwell was also a single mother of an orphan, Katharine Barry, so it can be assumed that she had more family responsibility that could have interfered with her career. Samuel Dickson had married three times and had eight children from those marriages; his wives could’ve taken care of the children while he was at work. Looking at the time frame that these physicians lived in also supports my belief that gender would’ve effected their careers. They lived in the 1800’s. That was a time where the men went out into the workforce, and women stayed at home to raise and teach their children. Elizabeth Blackwell was clearly not a stay-at-home kind of woman, and entered a field of primarily men. I do think that Samuel Dickson was more socially accepted as a phsyician because he was male, but I think that Elizabeth Blackwell’s was more successful as a physcian.

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