Sophia Jex-Blake entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
In a society that valued modesty, where women refrained from seeking treatment from male doctors for some medical problems, Sophia Jex-Blake saw a need for women doctors. Through extensive conflict, she became the third woman to have her name on the British Medical Registry. However, unlike Elizabeth Blackwell, who sought education in America, and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, who received her degree through regulatory loopholes that soon closed, Sophia Jex-Blake directly pressured the universities and parliament, through her writings and through direct action, to admit women to both medical education and the practice of medicine. Her published works include essays on medical history and medical practice, on infection and childcare, and powerful arguments for ending the male monopoly. Her success paved the way for women to become doctors in England and Scotland on the same formal terms as men.
21 January 1840 SJB was born in Sussex, at her family's home, 3 Croft Place, in Hastings. She was the youngest child of three, having elder siblings Thomas William and Caroline. Bibliographic Citation link.
Mid-1867 Concurrent with her service to women's hospitals in the United States, SJB published her earliest writing, an account of A Visit to Some American Schools and Colleges. Bibliographic Citation link.
1872 While still a student at Edinburgh, SJB published, and dedicated to her American mentor Dr Lucy Sewall Medical Women: Two Essays: i.e. "Medicine as a Profession for Women" (a revised version of her essay for Josephine Butler's collection in March 1869) and "Medical Education for Women". Bibliographic Citation link.
Spring 1886 Following the official admittance of women to the medical exams at Edinburgh, SJB published her most significant work, the revised second edition of Medical Women: Two Essays, now retitled Medical Women: A Thesis and A History. Bibliographic Citation link.
By May 1893 SJB wrote a paper titled "Medical Education of Women in Great Britain and Ireland", to be read by Constance Elder at the World's Congress of Representative Women at Chicago on 15-22 May 1893. Bibliographic Citation link.
7 January 1912 SJB died peacefully, with Margaret Todd at her side. Todd spent the last few years of her own life writing her last book, The Life of Sophia Jex-Blake, and not long after it was finished, in 1918 (the year of its publication), she committed suicide. Bibliographic Citation link.
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