Daily Almanac for Monday, January 23, 2023

On this date in 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to receive an M.D. degree. Elizabeth Blackwell By Unknown photographer – National Library of Medicine, Public Domain, https commons.wikimedia.org


Elizabeth Blackwell (3 February 1821 – 31 May 1910) was a British physician, notable as the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, and the first woman on the Medical Register of the General Medical Council for the United Kingdom. Blackwell played an important role in both the United States and the United Kingdom as a social awareness and moral reformer, and pioneered in promoting education for women in medicine. Her contributions remain celebrated with the Elizabeth Blackwell Medal, awarded annually to a woman who has made a significant contribution to the promotion of women in medicine.

Blackwell was initially uninterested in a career in medicine, especially after her schoolteacher brought in a bull’s eye to use as a teaching tool for studying the anatomy enabling vision. Therefore, she became a schoolteacher in order to support her family. This occupation was seen as suitable for women during the 1800s; however, she soon found it unsuitable for her. Blackwell’s interest in medicine was sparked after a friend fell ill and remarked that, had a female doctor cared for her, she might not have suffered so much. Blackwell began applying to medical schools and immediately began to endure the prejudice against her sex that would persist throughout her career. She was rejected from each medical school she applied to, except Geneva Medical College, in which the male students voted for Blackwell’s acceptance. Thus, in 1847, Blackwell became the first woman to attend medical school in the United States.

Blackwell’s inaugural thesis on typhoid fever, published in 1849 in the Buffalo Medical Journal and Monthly Review, shortly after she graduated, was the first medical article published by a female student from the United States. It portrayed a strong sense of empathy and sensitivity to human suffering, as well as strong advocacy for economic and social justice. This perspective was deemed by the medical community as feminine.

Blackwell also founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children with her sister Emily Blackwell in 1857, and began giving lectures to female audiences on the importance of educating girls. She also played a significant role during the American Civil War by organizing nurses.


Question of the Day

What is lactose?

Lactose is a light sweetener and carbohydrate found only in milk. Any product made with milk contains lactose. Bacteria turn lactose to lactic acid, and that’s when milk turns sour. Some people cannot tolerate lactose and must avoid milk products.

Advice of the Day

Cold remedy: Add a clove to the lemon slice for your tea.

Home Hint of the Day

A metal fireback can hide cracked bricks in the back of your fireplace. It also serves to reflect more heat into the room.

Word of the Day


An instrument that measures direct solar radiation.

Puzzle of the Day

What is that which was tomorrow, and will be yesterday?



  • John Hancock (statesman ) – 1737
  • Camilla Collett (writer) – 1813
  • Joseph Nathan Kane (fact-finding guru) – 1899
  • Ernie Kovacs (actor) – 1919
  • Chita Rivera (singer, actress, & dancer) – 1933
  • Gil Gerard (actor) – 1943
  • Rutger Hauer (actor) – 1944
  • Richard Dean Anderson (actor) – 1950
  • Princess Caroline of Monaco – 1957
  • Mariska Hargitay (actress) – 1964


  • Anna Pavlova (ballerina) – 1931
  • Samuel Barber (composer) – 1981
  • Salvador Dali (artist) – 1989
  • Daniel Pearl (Wall Street Journal reporter who disappeared and was later killed) – 2002
  • Nell Carter (singer & actress) – 2003
  • Helmut Newton (fashion photographer) – 2004
  • Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo) – 2004
  • Johnny Carson (comedian who dominated late-night television for 30 years as the host of The Tonight Show) – 2005


  • Deadliest earthquake on record killed 830,000 in China– 1556
  • Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to receive an M.D. degree– 1849
  • Envelope machine patented– 1849
  • California vintner Agoston Haraszthy received 100,000 European grape vine cuttings.– 1862
  • Charles Curtis first of Native American descent to be elected as U.S. senator– 1907
  • Leonard Thompson received the world’s first successful insulin injection– 1922
  • The movie Casablanca was copyrighted– 1943
  • Duke Ellington played at New York City’s Carnegie Hall for the first time– 1943
  • Fire devastated streetcar barns in Regina, Saskatchewan– 1949
  • Bathyscaphe Trieste dove a record-breaking 35,800 feet– 1960
  • Eldfell volcano began to form, Heimaey Island, Iceland – 1973
  • Willie Mays elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame– 1979
  • China’s giant pandas were added to the endangered species list– 1984
  • The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted its first members: Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, and Little Richard– 1986
  • International Polar Bear Conservation Centre opened in Winnipeg, Manitoba– 2012
  • At 12:31 am, a 7.9 earthquake struck the Gulf of Alaska, about 181 miles southeast of Kodiak, prompting a tsunami warning for coastal Alaska and British Columbia, and a tsunami watch for the rest of the U.S. West Coast. This was cancelled after several hours; a minor tsunami, less than a foot, was reported in Alaska.– 2018


  • In Iroquois Falls, Ontario, the temperature reached -73°F.– 1935
  • Eighty degrees below zero F at Prospect Creek, Alaska– 1971
  • 13.4 inches of snow fell on Boston, the most snow the city had received in a single day since the National Weather Service began keeping records in 1892. This was from a powerful blizzard which started on January 22 and ended on the 23rd.– 2005

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