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ASHLAND – The Ashland and Framingham public libraries have combined for a virtual program with New York Times bestselling author Janice Nimera on Wedesday, March 2.

Nimura will conduct a one-hour presentation based on her new New York Times bestselling book, The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine.

Elizabeth Blackwell believed from an early age that she was destined for a mission beyond the scope of “ordinary” womanhood.

Though the world at first recoiled at the notion of a woman studying medicine, her intelligence and intensity ultimately won her the acceptance of the male medical establishment.

In 1849, she became the first woman in America to receive an M.D. She was soon joined in her iconic achievement by her younger sister, Emily, who was actually the more brilliant physician. 

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Exploring the sisters’ allies, enemies, and enduring partnership, Nimura presents a story of trial and triumph. Together, the Blackwells founded the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, the first hospital staffed entirely by women. Both sisters were tenacious and visionary, but their convictions did not always align with the emergence of women’s rights or with each other. 

This program was also supported by the Ashland Historical Society, and is supported by the Friends of the Ashland Library

Nimura received a Public Scholar Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities in support of her work on The Doctors Blackwell, her bestselling 2021 book.

Her previous book, Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back, was a New York Times Notable book in 2015.

Her essays and book reviews have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian, The Rumpus, and LitHub, among other publications.

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“The one thing I know I’ll never be is a historian,” she told her college guidance counselor in 1988. She thought she wanted to be a doctor, but life intervened: she majored in English at Yale, worked in publishing, moved to Japan with her Tokyo-born husband, and completed an M.A. in East Asian studies at Columbia upon their return to her native New York.

She grew into an understanding that history is made of stories and fell in love with archival treasure-hunting, especially when it led to the forgotten lives of border-crossing nineteenth-century women. Her first book grew out of her personal interest in the earliest encounters between Japan and the United States. In her latest project she circles back to her first interest in medicine, in the context of her work in women’s history.

To attend the program, click here to register.

You will then receive a Zoom link.


Photo and information for this report above from Ashland Public Library

By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.