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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Elizabeth Blackwell Monument, Asheville

  • Type

    Sculpture

  • Subjects

    Historic Women Figures

    Historic Medical Figures

  • Creator

    James Barnhill , Sculptor

    Joe Miller, Sculptor

  • City

    Asheville

  • County

    Buncombe

  • Description

    A metal arbor of medicinal herbs houses a bench and the bust of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell. An accompanying plaque provides a brief biography of Blackwell, who was the first woman to be awarded a medical degree in the United States.

    The medicinal plants represent wild yam, Virginia creeper, sycamore, sweet gum maple, oak sassafras, witch hazel, and tulip poplar. Each of the plants incorporated are native to North Carolina and were used for medicinal purposes. The seats on the bench are made to look like gingko leaves.

    Image: Bronze plaque

  • Inscription

    ELIZABETH BLACKWELL, M.D. / DR. BLACKWELL WAS THE FIRST WOMAN AWARDED A / MEDICAL DEGREE IN THE UNITED STATES. SHE BEGAN / HER MEDICAL STUDIES IN ASHEVILLE IN 1845 UNDER / DR. JOHN DICKSON, FOR WHOM SHE TAUGHT MUSIC AT / DICKSON'S PRIVATE SCHOOL FOR GIRLS. THE SCHOOL / WAS LOCATED ON THE SITE OF THE DRHUMOR BUILDING. / ELIZABETH BLACKWELL WAS AN 1849 GRADUATE OF GENEVA MEDICAL COLLEGE IN WESTERN NEW YORK. / PLACED BY BUNCOMBE COUNTY MEDICAL AUXILIARY / AND BUNCOMBE COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY

  • Custodian

    City of Asheville; Asheville Urban Trail

  • Dedication Date

    The ceramic bust and plaque were dedicated in 1994 while the rest of the monument was constructed in 1999 when the bust proved too fragile to stand alone in the elements.

  • Decade

    1990s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.594750 , -82.553490 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell," National Library of Medicine (accessed May 27, 2014) Link

      "Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910)," National Women's History Museum (accessed May 27, 2014) Link

      "Elizabeth Blackwell Memorial," Himetop The History of Medicine Topographical Database (accessed May 27, 2014) Link

      "The Blackwell Memorial on the Asheville Urban Trail," Hobart and William Smith Colleges, (accessed May 23, 2014) Link

      Asheville Area Arts Council. Urban Trail Study Guide (Asheville, NC: Asheville City Schools, 2003).

      Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Elizabeth Blackwell: First Woman Physician," About Women's History, (accessed May 23, 2014) Link

      MacLean, Maggie. "Elizabeth Blackwell," Civil War Women, June 5, 2006, (accessed May 23, 2014) Link

      Schiller, Hannah. "Asheville's Urban Trail," The Laurel of Asheville (accessed May 27, 2014) Link

      Stroud, Mike. "Elizabeth Blackwell, M.D.," The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org (accessed May 27, 2014) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Bronze plaque and bust

    Wrought iron bench and arbor

  • Sponsors

    Buncombe County Medical Auxiliary and Buncombe County Medical Society <br><br> Mary Whiting Ewing Foundation <br><br> Wachovia Bank

  • Subject Notes

    Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States. Her medical studies started in Asheville in 1845 under Dr. John Dickson for whom she taught music at Dickson's private school for girls. The school was located on the site of the Drhumor (pronounced "drummer") Building, which is directly across from where the monument is located.

    Blackwell's tenure in Asheville was very brief before she moved on to Charleston to live with Dickson's brother, a well-respected Charleston doctor. Though her time spent in Asheville was brief, Reverend Dickson actively encouraged her to pursue a medical degree at a time when no women were given the opportunity to attain a formal medical education. Blackwell explained that Dickson's positive reassurance helped her move forward and follow her medicinal dreams.

    The monument is part of Asheville's Urban Trail, a walking tour of the city's downtown, highlighting historic people and events relevant to Asheville.

  • Location

    The monument is located along Patton Avenue near the intersection with Church Street.

  • Landscape

    The monument is located on the side of the Wachovia Bank building.

  • Post Dedication Use

    The monument is used as a stop on the Asheville walking tour.

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