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May 13, 2024 35 mins

Sophia Jex-Blake was a young English woman who initially pursued a career in teaching before she fell in love with medicine while visiting the U.S. Part one covers the early part of her life and education.


  • Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake." Encyclopedia Britannica, 15 Mar. 2024,
  • Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Elizabeth Garrett Anderson." Encyclopedia Britannica, 12 Feb. 2024,
  • Drysdale, Neil. “UK’s first female students posthumously awarded their medical degrees in Edinburgh.” The Press and Journal. July 6, 2019.
  • Edmunds, Percy James. “The Origin Of The London School Of Medicine For Women.” The British Medical Journal, vol. 1, no. 2620, 1911, pp. 659–60. JSTOR, Accessed 30 Apr. 2024.
  • Campbell, Olivia. “The Queer Victorian Doctors Who Paved the Way for Women in Medicine.” History. June 1, 2021.
  • Jex-Blake, Sophia. “Medical Women.” Edinburgh. WILLIAM OLIPHANT & Co. 1872. Accessed online:
  • Kelly, Laura, Dr. “The 1896 ‘Enabling Act.’” Women’s Museum of Ireland.
  • “Life of Sophia Jex-Blake.” Somerset Standard. July 26, 1918.
  • Lutzker, Edythe. “Women Gain a Place in Medicine.” New York. McGraw-Hill. 1969. Accessed online:
  • Ogilve, Marilyn Bailey. “Women in Science.” MIT Press. 1986.
  • “Sophia Jex-Blake.” Birmingham Post. Jan. 20, 1940.
  • “Sophia Jex-Blake and the Edinburgh Seven.” University of Edinburgh. Jan. 23, 2024.
  • Todd, Margaret. “The Life of Sophia Jex-Blake.” Macmillan. 1918.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
Welcome to Stuff You Missed in History Class, a production
of iHeartRadio. Hello and welcome to the podcast. I'm Holly
Frye and I'm Tracy V. Wilson. So this quote about
Sophia Jex Blake perfectly sums up why I wanted to

do an episode about her. It was written by someone
very close to her, and it reads quote she was
merely a clever young woman with a rather outlandish name
who had conceived the extraordinary desire of obtaining a medical
education by hook or by crook. I mean, if that
doesn't make a person sound interesting, I don't know what does. So.

Sofia jex Blake was a young english woman in the
nineteenth century who, after initially pursuing a career in teaching,
fell in love with medicine while she was visiting the
United States, and that passion transformed her life. But also
because of her actions the lives of countless others as
she battled for women's rights in education. And she is

someone that is surely familiar to listeners from the UK
and particlellarly in Scotland. But I sure didn't ever hear
of her until recently when I just randomly came across
her name in a book about women in science. Yeah.
When you told me you were doing this episode, I
was like, I don't know who that is. Yeah, spoiler alert,
she's pretty great. This is one of those delights where

you keep waiting for something horrible to arise about a
person and if it's there, I did not find it,
and I read a lot. But here's the thing. She
gets talked about a lot in terms of her work
in education reform, particularly in opening the schools of Britain
to women, but one thing that doesn't get a lot

of discussion in most mentions is her early life. And
looking at that one I found it really. I don't
know if endearing is the right word, but I recognize
a lot of her life experience as similar to my own,
so I love those. But also it's really illuminating in
who she became as a person. So this is a

two parter because part one is going to cover her
early life in her teaching career and when she falls
in love with medicine. But then in part two we
will talk about her more well known aspect of her story,
which is her part in the Edinburgh Seven, which is
a group of women who sought to get medical degrees
in Edinburgh in the late nineteenth century. Sofia Louisa jax Blake,

whose name you may also hear Sophia because that's got
variations by time and place. Yes, I will talk about
why we went with Sofia on this one in the
behind the scenes. Yeah. So. She was born January twenty first,
eighteen forty, in Hastings, Sussex, England. Her parents were Mariah

Emily Cubitt jax Blake and Thomas jax Blake. Thomas was
the proctor of Doctor's Commons, which was an educational institution
of law that specialized in civil law. Sophia was their
third child, and she was the baby of the family.
She often described her childhood as incredibly happy, although she

was a bit more rambunctious than her very religious and
quiet parents were accustomed to in their other children. It's
not fully clear where Sophia, whose mother called her Sophie,
learned to write, but she did so quite early before
she really had any formal schooling. By the age of seven,
she was corresponding regularly with her mother while she was

away at school. One of these letters is very sweet,
and she writes to Mariah quote, I wish you would
be so kind as to come see me every night
in Bedfordshire, at least tonight on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday,
Saturday and next Sunday after tomorrow. It's so sweet. And

I will say, reading those letters that she was writing
when she was seven, she is way more articulate than
most seven year olds in her writing, Like I was
still like, you know, whooping it up with kiddies and princesses,
and she's having like deep thoughts. Sofaya also, much to
my delight, created an entire imaginary world as a child,

known as Sacermenty, and this was spread out over several
islands that she drew and mapped out over a long
period of time. And she also carefully and very extensively
wrote out all of the laws and rules of succession,
basically anything a government would need for this imaginary land.
And when I say that, I mean like pages and

pages more than some actual governments have. I think this
is kind of a hint at the way her mind
worked even from an early age. And charmingly, she stitched
together all of this documentation into a little book titled
The Sacramenty's pocketbook containing many little accounts of their and
she published this book first in eighteen forty eight, and

then she amended it and added to it for the
same book. But it becomes its own second edition in
eighteen fifty. I'm imagining published here means means she handed
it out. She wrote it out herself. Yeah. Published has
big old air quotes around him. Yeah. A close friend
and biographer who we will be talking more about later,

described Sephia in her youth as a quote terrible pickle.
She was boisterous and had a temper and just seemed
to overflow with energy. And this was really a lot
for the Jex Blake household. According to accounts, this household
had been very placid before Sepia's birth, even though there
were two other children in it. She really struggled with

efforts at school to make her be ladylike like. Notes
from her earliest educators indicate that she had quote the
desire to be conspicuous and lacked so self control. She
loved it when the family went on holiday to the
country so she could shoot a bow and arrow and
gather plant specimens. But all this really rambunctious and inquisitive

spirit made some of the adults in her life on edge.
Letters written about her behavior describe her making people uncomfortable.
This became particularly concerning as her mother, Mariah, who was
never especially robust, started to decline in health. Mariah needed
quiet and rest, and it was hard for Sofia to

live in a house where that was the expectation. Still,
she remained very very close to both of her parents,
and there appears in their letters a very mutual adoration
between them and their youngest child. Her father, for example,
would write her jokey little poems in rhyming couplets, encouraging
her to Behave one of those reads, my little child,

you're very wild. Could you be still and yet not ill? Then?
Little so this, I do know you'd be a blessing
worth possessing. And her reply to that one was, my
dear father, I had rather you'd believed me and relieve
me when I say as I may, that I'll be
good as I should. And the two of them kept
this ongoing game of rhyming notes up in their correspondence

for quite a while. I love that It's very very charming.
At the same time, though there were dark periods When
Sepaia was away at school, she yearned to be at home,
but when she was at home, people thought she was
a terror, especially according to her parents' standards. At one point,
around the age of eleven, she developed a nebulous health

issue that was characterized by poor digestion and weak joints.
Sephia's teacher and former governess, who's referenced only as Miss
b took her to a number of doctors to try
to identify the problem. Sephia was given a lot of
leeway behaviorally during this time, and it seems like when
she next went home to see her parents, the whole

experience was so awful that after she had returned to school,
her mother Mariah wrote to her that quote more sad
and foolish behavior than yours. Is difficult to imagine your
ever being with us again for three weeks at a
time is quite out of the question till you have
the good sense to understand that to be happy and comfortable,

and to enable me, in my weak state, to have
you at all, you must be good. Mariah continues in
this letter that they will try visits of one week
at a time, and if Sepia behaves, they can extend
them longer. She also notes that part of the reason
for all this concern and chastisement is that if Sefia

doesn't behave quote, the medical men will not allow us
to be together. But she asked her daughter in her
closing lines to tear up this letter. Not long after this,
and for no recorded reason, then Sephia was removed from
her school and put in another boarding school that was
near her parents new home in Brighton. This kind of

makes me think of when we talked about the letter
that Mary Todd Lincoln wrote Vinnie Reams or not wrote
any Reams, but wrote about Viny Reams that she's ream
And She's like, destroy this letter, And I'm like, anytime
that is how a letter ends, I'm like, you know,
this was not a cool letter to write. Throughout her teens,
Sephia's strong willed behavior and her tendency to get excited

at things continued to be a source of stress for
her parents. They wrote her so many letters that they
surely believed were loving, but all of them really seemed
to express this hope that she would become a fundamentally
different person than she was. In one, her father wrote, quote,
do you think Darling that by divine grace, you are
less self willed day by day. Everybody seems to deprecate

your presence as that which will spread discomfort all around,
which I can only imagine. That's a heartbreaking thing for
a father to write a child. But Sofia's own writing
evidence is a girl who was keenly aware of other
people and their feelings. For example, in one of her
diary entries, she notes that a new girl whose father
had died recently arrived at school, and that the head

mistress went on and on to the entire student body
about how fatherless children are in God's special care. And
Sepia saw how uncomfortable this entire thing was making the
girl in question, who was named Agnes, and she wrote
in her diary of that teacher quote, Oh, I could
have knocked her down. Sofia was asked not to return

at the end of the school year. We don't know
if that's related or not, but she seemed to be defiant.
Sephia was placed back in her previous school, and the
same cycle continued. Her mother and sister were both very
ill for a time, and when Mariah had recovered a
little wrote to her daughter of an upcoming visit. Quote,
I look forward with great pleasure to Saturday week, but

pray try to be quiet in your joy when I
meet you, because I am still weak and soon upset,
and people will be very vexed with you if I
am the worst. In a surprising twist, when Sefia finished
school and moved back home permanently, her relationship with her
mother became really closer than ever, and they didn't seem

to have any more issues. When the two of them
talked of a potential marriage for Sophia, Sepia told her
mother that she quote did not fancy I should ever marry,
for I thought I should require too many qualities to
meet in the man I could think for a husband,
for it to be likely that I should ever meet
such a paragon who could be willing to marry me.

In eighteen fifty eight, at the age of eighteen, Sepia
enrolled in Queen's College, London, and she loved this entire
experience and wrote after arriving, quote, very delicious it is
to be here. Oh, if there be an elysium here
on herth, it is this. It is this. I am
happy as a queen, work and independence. What can be

more charming, really perfection. In addition to her own coursework,
she started tutoring at the school, helping other students with
their mathematics studies. She had started assisting other students with
their math problems way back in her early days of school,
so this was a very natural fit. Coming up, we'll
learn about her family's reaction to this job, but first

we will pause for a sponsor break. When he learned
that his daughter was teaching other students' math, Sophia's father
was mortified that she tutored for pay, and he wrote
to her that it was beneath her to take money

for such work and that it quote would lower you
sadly in the eyes of almost everybody, and that was
because she would be quote accepting wages that belonged to
a claim beneath you in social rank. And she wrote
back to him that she loved to teach and that
the tutorship position had been unfilled for months because there
was no one else who was able to do that job,

so she did not feel like she was taking a
position from someone who needed it more. She also noted
to him, quote, you as a man, did your work
and received your payment, and no one thought it any degradation,
but a fair exchange. Why should the difference of my
sex alter the laws of right and honor. The two
of them argued back and forth about this issue in letters,

and Sofia offered to donate any money that she made
in her first term to the college, but that if
she liked the job in her mind, that money was
fairly hers for all future terms. By the way, she
regretted making that deal. She wish she could have kept
her first term wages because she kind of ran a
little low on her allowance and was like, I really
could have used that money. Jax Blake also started to

reveal in her write that she was more drawn to
women than to men. This wasn't cloaked in any kind
of Koi language. She literally wrote quote, I believe I
love women too much to ever love a man, yet
who can tell. During these years, she formed some very
intense friendships with women, which may have been romantic in nature.

One of her closest friends, Octavia Hill, ended their friendship
abruptly after Sephia had moved in with the Hill family.
Sepia never fully understood why this friendship had ended, and
just clung to the idea that they would reconcile for years.
Friends described this movement as deeply significant for Jex Blake,

one that bisected her life story into the time before
it happened and the time after Sephia finished the school
term but then immediately left for Brighton. Yeah, when we
say she held on to hope about this for years
and years, I'm talking decades and decades, like a long time.
She was still writing about Octavia in her journal. Sophia

met another young woman at this time in her life
named Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. At that point, she was just
Elizabeth Garrett. Elizabeth was born in Suffolk, England, in eighteen
thirty six, so she was a few years older than Sophia,
and Elizabeth was very clear in her life's ambition. She
wanted to pursue a career in medicine, and understanding and

experiencing that that was a field normally barred to women,
Elizabeth found ways to step around the barriers. Her path
had started with a surgical nurse position at Middlesex Hospital
and then she tried to enroll in the hospital school's
medical program, but she was declined, so she started to
study things like anatomy with private instructors. And eventually did

get a medical license after becoming a member of the
Worshipful Society of Apothecaries. That was her way in. It
was a loophole that she exploited. Sophia met Elizabeth early
in this journey and found her inspiring. Jax Blake had,
in the meantime gotten a teaching job in Germany at
the Grand Ducal Institution in Mannheim. It was not a

great experience for her. She was really good at the
actual teaching part of her job, but was not good
at dealing with students when they got unruly. She found
the period of her contract there overwhelming, and when it
was over, she packed up to head home again. After
foundering about to find something that felt like a calling
to her, Sophia decided to travel to the United States,

writing as she planned the trip quote, I have such
a feeling that with the new world, a new life
will open. On May twenty seventh, eighteen sixty five, Safaia
sailed from Liverpool on the ship Africa. The ship landed
in Boston on June eighth, and one of the people
that Sefaia had a contact for in Boston was doctor

Lucy Sewell. There were actually some problems with this. She
had been given the wrong address and so it took
her a couple of days to actually find where doctor
Sewell was. But once she did, the two hit it off.
Doctor Sewell worked at the New England Hospital for Women
and Children, and she was the resident physician there at
the young age of twenty eight. Sephia spent a lot

of time with her in her dispensary and watched her
care for patients. At the same time, jax Blake was
dealing with her own health issues. This caused her energy
to really wax and wane from day to day. Sewell
prescribed a holiday for her and she went to the
White Mountains in New Hampshire. She marveled in her letters

home at the expanse of the woodlands that she saw
in the United States. When Sephia returned to Boston, Sewell
included her in the social life of the women's hospital
and its staff. The team consisted entirely of women, and
that made a significant impression on Sophia. She wrote to
her mother, quote, can't you understand how refreshing it is

to slip into the bright life of all these working
people working hard all day and then so ready for fun.
When work's over. Eventually, Jex Blake canceled most of her
other North American travel plans, and she moved into the
hospital's house for resident doctors. She started helping out around
the facility, doing things like working on paperwork and filling

prescriptions in the dispensary. She also started reading to patients
and reported to her mother that she felt quote so
exceedingly content that I hardly feel the need of anything beyond.
She also wrote in her letters that she had thoughts
of quote, were I not a teacher, I would be
a doctor if I could. She had throughout her life

been religious, and she started writing sermons for the hospital
and got one of the surgeons to play hymns on
an accordion for these services. Those services got really mixed reviews.
After a year in Boston, Safia returned home ready to
discuss the thoughts that she was having about a future
in medicine. She and Sewell had gotten to the point

where they had discussed a future together, and Sewell wrote
to her after she had returned to England, quote, I
really feel quite well satisfied with the increase in my practice,
and if it continues to increase for the next two
years as well, we shall be able to take a
fine house and live in style. I cannot tell you
how much pleasure I get out of anticipating our housekeeping.

When I am too tired to do anything, I lay
on the sofa and plan and plan, and think, what
a good time we are going to have, And I
am happy as a cricket, so sweet. Jex Blake had
returned to Brighton in June of eighteen sixty six, and
on September first, she left again to return to the
United States. She wrote a book titled A Visit to

Some American Colleges and Schools, based on the touring that
she had done on her first visit, and when that
was done, she turned all of her energies to being
essentially a medical student at the Women's Hospital. During this time, though,
she realized that even though she was learning a great deal,
she wasn't earning an academic degree. She tried applying to

Harvard Medical School and was denied, so she wrote a
letter to the President and fellows of Harvard requesting admission
to the medical school, and she had that letter published
in the Boston Daily Advertiser. Her co signer on the
letter was another woman seeking a medical degree named Susan Dimmick.
That didn't attain the desired result, but Sofia made it

her business to find ways to be introduced to anyone
she could find who worked at Massachusetts General Hospital and
the Harvard Medical School faculty. She made her case to
all of them. If you remember our episode on Rebecca
Lee Crumpler, and you're like, wasn't there a New England
Female Medical College, Yes, we don't really know why she

seems not to have included that college in her efforts here. No,
it's a mystery. You can talk about that, moro. We
could talk about it more on Friday. But since that
episode was not long ago, I thought, huh. Some of
these folks supported her efforts, including doctor Oliver Wendell Holmes,
who wrote quote, I should not only be willing, but

I should be pleased to lecture to any number of
ladies for whom we can find accommodation in the anatomical
lecture room always provided that any special subject which seemed
not adapted for an audience of both sexes should be
delivered to the male students alone. But though Sophia was

certainly happy to have some degree of support She noted
in her personal writing that all of this really amounted
to nothing because Harvard had made a decision that women
would not be admitted. The Massachusetts Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary,
which had allowed women to sit in as clinical observers,
rescinded that permission. Massachusetts General continued to allow interested women

to observe, but that made it abundantly clear that what
they had been allowed to learn, even from willing supporters,
was very abbreviated because the students were women. They also
met with open hostility from some members of the hospital staff,
so this just wasn't a good environment. Sofia and Lucy

Sewell were still very close. In one of her letters home,
she wrote to her parents about Lucy, quote, the doctor
begs me to send her love. I do hope you
may know her by this time next year, don't you.
The two women went on a number of vacations together.
When there was time to get away, they would take
long driving tours in a carriage, stopping at a new

town each night. These were not luxury tours by any means.
Sometimes they would stay at inns, but on other occasions
they stopped at people's houses and just asked if there
was a place to sleep. This was mostly all out
in the country, so it wasn't expected that would be
in places with staff to take care of them. In
her diary, Saphia relayed one story in which a widow

let them stay at her home, but there was no
one else there, so she had to manage their horse
by herself in the dark, and she came to appreciate
how hard that particular kind of work was. Sofia jex
Blake did not give up on trying to get Harvard
Medical School to change its mind regarding women as medical students.
In January of eighteen sixty eight, she wrote to the

school once again, quote, Gentlemen, having during the past year
been granted access to the clinical advantages of the Massachusetts
General Hospital, but finding it impossible anywhere in New England
to obtain adequate theoretical instruction in medicine, we now earnestly
entreat you to reconsider the subject of admission of women

to the lectures at Harvard Medical School. Such admission being,
as we understand, forbidden by no past or present statute
of the University. We do not wish to enter on
the vexed question of the capability of women for the
practice of medicine, as we believe that time and experience
can only furnish its true answer. This letter goes on

to say that the interested women are absolutely willing to
submit to the qualifying exams and to provide references, and
to agree to any rules that the school might wish
to set up to make this proposal work. While she
waited on a reply to this particular phase of request,
a funny thing happened to her and that she adopted

rather by accident, a dog. This dog had belonged to
the family of a patient at the women's hospital. When
the patient's husband came to pick her up and take
her home after treatment, the family dog was with him,
and after that the dog, which Sofaia described as possibly
being a setter, kept coming back to the hospital by itself.

The family came and got it several times, and then
one night it showed up at the resident home and
as it was cold, Jex Blake let it in and
then she took it home in the morning. The dog
was friendly with its owner. It didn't act like it
had been mistreated in any way, but it kept trying
to go back home with Sophia every time she tried
to leave, So she and the gentleman had a discussion

about it, and she ultimately offered him five dollars if
she could just keep the dog named Turk, noting quote
one can't help liking, even a dog who so plainly
declares elective affinity. Coming up a familiar character to longtime
podcast listeners, will enter Sophia's story, but first we will
hear from the sponsors that keep our show going. Although

she absolutely adored her life in Boston, Sofia was getting
frustrated enough with Harvard that she decided to seek out
alternate possibilities for a medical education in New York. She
left for New York in March of eighteen sixty eight,
and there her life intersects with another prior podcast subject,
doctor Elizabeth Blackwell. Blackwell and her sister Emily took Sophia

under their wings. Doctor Blackwell was also lobbying for better
medical education opportunities for women, so their goals were very
closely aligned. Sephia also managed to get a tiny anatomy
class together for women, just her and one other student,
so a very tiny class at Bellevue Hospital. After she
got one of the administrators there at doctor Moseley to

agree to teach it. Sophia's first experience with a dissecting
class was thrilling to her. She wrote in her diary
on March twenty eighth, eighteen sixty eight, quote began dissecting
with doctor Moseley. Oh dear, isn't it good to have
some real teaching at last? By the bye, the Blackwells
think they could get us into Bellevue if Harvard refuses

New York for three winters. That's funny to me because
the Massachusetts for three winters was what she was looking at. Fright.
So she notes just how much she was learning now
that she had actual teaching, both in her dissecting lab
and under doctor Blackwell, compared to the previous observation she'd

been allowed to do. She was also writing Lucy Sewell
long letters, which included, among other things, how to manage
the various day to day things that Seviyah had been
handling for her, like how to manage her bookkeeping and
how to take care of turk. It's so cute some
of these letters where she's like, Okay, there's a Ledger book.

It looks like this. It's on this shelf. Please don't
forget to write down invoices that you sent out like
it is the funniest, most kind of mothering that it's
very cute. At the end of April, she sailed back
home for a visit, writing in her diary quote, nearly
three years in America. In that time, complete health regained,

probably better than ever before, real strength and power of study,
A profession opening calmly and clearly before me becoming clearer daily,
my vocation given up or laid aside, and I quietly
learning knowledge chiefly because of its power. Hardly yet shaping
out any end. But what does come selfish enough? Professor

of anatomy, surgeon, doctor, teacher. She credits all of this
hope and new life to l Ees, meaning Lucy Sewell.
And when she got back home to England, she brought
Lucy with her to introduce her to friends and family.
Everyone really adored Lucy. She gave medical advice to sick

people in Bristol. She easily won over the entire Jax
Blake family, inspiring Sephia's parents to want to buy her
a new carriage when she returned home to Boston as
a memento of their affection. For her. Sephia was very
aware that her parents would not be around forever, and
it was important to her that they understand her new

path in life, that they like her dearest friend Lucy,
and that they all have a good holiday together. And
all of these things happened. Saphia wrote in her diary quote,
I think the wheel is beginning to sway upwards again.
Please God, it's It's very sweet that this entire visit is.

All of her notes are about how everyone is just
as bananas about Lucy as she is and thinks she's
the best thing that ever walked the earth. When Saphia
returned to the US after that wonderful visit home, jax
Blake got the news that Harvard had once again said
no to her request for admittance to medical school, so
she headed to New York in the autumn of eighteen

sixty eight, which was timed well to Elizabeth Blackwell and
her sister opening their medical school for women. Sophia took
rooms at two twenty two East tenth Street in the
East Village. She noted that once her furniture and food
stores were purchased, which included two barrels of potatoes and
thirty pounds of butter, which made me cheer a little bit.

She was low on money, but also that she knew
she could borrow from doctor Sewell if she needed to.
She also wrote to her mother quote, though I have
no special friends here, I shall be so busy and
cozy that I expect to get on capitally. During this
period of her life, Sephia started an interesting practice when
writing to her parents. She would write most of her

letters with the intent that her mother would pass them
on to her father to read, but she also added
additional sheets of paper with messages only intended for her mother.
In these, she was more frank about any difficulties or
challenges that she was working through. Her father's health had
become more fragile as he aged, she didn't want to

upset or worry him about anything. It's an interesting twist
that her mother, who wrote the teenage Sophia letters suggesting
she was too fragile to deal with her daughter, had
now become the one more trusted with potentially stressful news.
But the stressful news came not from Sophia but to her.

In November of eighteen sixty eight, her sister Carrie wrote
to her of their father quote, I believe if you
could start from New York today, you would have no
prospect whatever of seeing him alive. Sophia immediately left for
home on a frantic journey to get there as quickly
as possible, only to find that her father, Thomas Jex Blake,

had died ten days before she even received her sister's message.
As it turned out, mister Jex Blake had been keenly
aware of the limited time he had left for several months,
and he had, without anyone in the family knowing, been
making sure that all of his affairs were in order,
and had also been writing farewell letters to all of
his loved ones to be delivered after his death. His

last words were reportedly beautiful, beautiful, when a doctor had
shifted him slightly in the bed before he passed. Her
father's death shifted Safia's feelings about her studies in New York.
She stopped working with Blackwell abruptly and vowed never to
be so far from her remaining family again. Lucy Sewell

was of course heartbroken that their plans for a future
together were ended with no real warning, but she also
seemed to understand the logic of it and she wrote
to Sofia that she knew she would still become a
doctor despite the challenges that she faced in that effort.
Back home, the two of them planned that Lucy would

help set up a practice for Sophia once she had
her schooling done and had acquired a medical license. And
that is where we are going to end part one,
and next time we will talk about Jex Blake's fight
for an education in the British Isles and how she
became part of a group known as the Edinburgh Seven. Dun, Dun.

You also have some listener mail for us, of course
I do. This one is about our recent on Margaret Knight,
and it is from our listener Melissa, who writes, when
I started listening to your recent episode about Margaret E. Knight,
I thought to myself, h, this story sounds familiar. And
then you mentioned her nickname Mattie, and I was like, oh, right,

I have a book about that Maddie in the Machine
by Lynn ing Quazon. I don't know if I'm pronouncing
that author's name right. I picked it up in a
benefit auction. The author wrote a very sweet note in
it for my kid, who is an inventor himself, he
hasn't read it yet. It's probably more YA than MG.
But I did, and I found it pretty enjoyable. It
is fictionalized, of course, there's a whole rival love interest

side plot that I suspect isn't historical, but as a
frequent reader of historical fiction, I was satisfied overall. The
author is an engineer, so the amount of detail into
the mechanical development of Mattie's bag folder work is great.
My kiddo is way beyond his years in engineering abilities,
so I often struggle finding books for him that are
engaging reads with sufficiently geeky details. I just thought i'd

drop a line for anyone else who would love to
spend more time with a brilliant I'm gonna do this
thing I'm awesome at, regardless of social opinion woman from History.
Also that book does not include the mislabeled photo of
her yay, but it does have patent diagrams, which I
think she would rather us look at anyway. Okay, this
is where we get to what to me is a

very thrilling part of this email. Melissa writes no pets
at present, but attaching a photo of one of my
aforementioned son's latest inventions a critter ridder for our vegetable garden.
When a motion sensor is tripped, lights and sound will
go off to startle away the deer and bunnies that
frequent our forest. At home, Dad helped cut holes in

the plastic container, but otherwise the coding, writing, etc. Is
all by my nine year old. Yes, I do believe
he is the heck and coolest. Thanks for the continually
excellent podcast. I know it's tough days in the podcast world,
so I extra appreciate your commitment to shouldering all the
research you do and crafting such approachable stories from it. Okay,
this kid is amazing because one, this is like a

great humane way to keep animals from eating your fruits
and vegetables. Two, it made me think also of Sofia,
a little bit who was very advanced when she was
a kid, although in her case she was not getting
that much encouragement about it. So kudos Melissa for having
a super bright kid who is also being encouraged to

use that brightness. If you have an email for us,
you can send it to History Podcast at iHeartRadio dot com.
You can also subscribe to the podcast on the iHeartRadio app,
or anywhere you listen to your favorite shows. Stuff you
Missed in History Class is a production of iHeartRadio. For

more podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple podcasts,
or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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Tracy V. Wilson

Tracy V. Wilson

Holly Frey

Holly Frey

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