Episode 18: Dr. Rebecca Crumpler’s Trailblazing Career

This week, we’re going to talk about a woman who studied medicine at a time when very few women could access higher education at all, and an African-American who became a physician at a time when half of this country believed that she could be owned by another American.  Rebecca Davis Lee Crumpler would study in Boston and become America’s first black female doctor.  Listen to this week’s show for her story!

Dr. Rebecca Crumpler

  • The text above is Rebecca Crumpler’s 1883 work A Book of Medical Discourses in Two Parts, believed to be the first medical text by an African-American author.
  • The image at the top of this post claims to be of Rebecca Crumpler, but there are no known surviving pictures of her.  This article explains.
  • If you want to hear more about 19th century women physicians, check out our friend Rachel’s podcast, available online, on iTunes, and wherever you get your podcasts.  She and her cohost are rewatching all of the ’90s TV show “Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman.”  Your humble hosts are occasional guest historians.

This Week in Boston History