Elizabeth Blackwell graduated at the head of her medical school class in the early 1840’s and, unable to find anyone who would hire a female doctor, started her own practice. In 1857, she opened a hospital run by an all-female staff.
An entry from her journal in the year before the hospital’s opening shed light on what kept her motivated: “I felt full of hope and strength for the future. Kitty plays beside me with her doll. She has just given me a candy basket purchased with a penny she earned. . .”
Kitty was the orphan that Blackwell adopted and raised as her own daughter.
(Taken from The Complete Single Mother by Andrea Engber and Leah Klungness, Ph.D. published by Adams Media 2006)