Research Guides

19th Century African American Female Physicians

Give Feedback/Comments
Black Women Physicians A - E

Mary Louise Brown (1868-1927)
Physician, Teacher

Mary Louise was born in 1868 in Baltimore, Maryland to John Mifflin Brown and Mary L. Lewis Brown. Her father was a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the family frequently moved. Since this was during the time of Reconstruction, she and her eight siblings took advantage of the opportunities being afforded.1

She attended the Normal School for Colored Girls in Washington, D.C. and upon graduation began her teaching career, teaching English. Mary Louise attended Howard University Medical school at night graduating in 1898. In 1899 and 1900, she attended post graduate education at the University of Edinburgh. When she returned to the United States, she opened her practice at 1813 Vermont Avenue in the District of Columbia. Dr. Brown continued teaching and because of her advanced degree, she taught science, which raised her significantly. While teaching she often treated her students for free.

With the outbreak of World War I, Dr. Brown received a commission from the American Red Cross and left for France in 1918 to care for wounded soldiers. Women’s organizations such as the American Medical Women’s Association and National American Woman Suffrage Association lobbied for the commission and military service records. Women received the commission but not the military service records that had been accorded to men. At the time that she received the commission she was one of two Black women to do so, the other was Dr. Harriet Rice (1866-1958).2 While in France, she suffered both racism and the sexism. The sexism from the military and the racism from what the United States government told the French about black people until the French authorities retrieved the information published by the United States.2

Upon her return to the United States, she contued her teaching and medical practice until her sudden death on March 9, 1927.

1 Mary Louise Brown (Accessed July 13, 2021)
2 The untold story of women who risked their lives to do good – and get their rights. Opinion by Kate Clarke Lemay (Access July 13, 2021)


Rebecca Davis Lee Crumpler (1831-1895)
Rebecca Davis, was born free in 1831 in Christiana, Delaware but was raised by an aunt in Philadelphia who provided nursing care to people of the neighborhood. By 1852, Rebecca living in Charlestown, Massachusetts, worked as a nurse for eight years when she was admitted to the New England Female Medical College. Graduating in 1864, receiving her Doctress of Medicine, she became the first African-American woman to receive a medical degree and the school’s only black alumna.
Dr. Crumpler's first practice was in Boston but during Reconstruction she moved to Richmond to work with the Freedman’s Bureau and because she felt that it was “a proper field for real missionary work, and one that would present ample opportunities to become acquainted with the diseases of women and children. During my stay there nearly every hour was improved in that sphere of labor. The last quarter of the year 1866, I was enabled… to have access each day to a very large number of the indigent, and others of different classes, in a population of over 30,000 colored.”After marrying, Arthur Crumpler, she had actively stopped practicing medicine. Not totally detached from the field, in 1883, she published “A Book of Medical Discourses’ in which she discussed her desire to become a physician was to relieve the suffering of others.

Dr. Crumpler died on March 9, 1895 in Fairview, Massachusetts.

In honor of her work in 1989, the first medical society for Black women was founded named the Rebecca Lee Society.
1 Kentake Page (Accessed November 20, 2019)
Black Women Physicians F - J
Black Women Physicians K- O
Black Women Physicians P - T

Consuelo Clark Stewart (June 22, 1860-April 17, 1910)
Consuelo Clark was born in 1861 to Peter H. Clark and Frances Ann Williams Clark in Ohio.
She attended the Art Academy and graduated from Boston University Medical School. Upon graduation, in 1884, she became the first African American woman licensed to practice medicine in Ohio.1 Dr. Stewart practiced medicine at Ohio Hospital for Women and Children. The Ohio Hospital served women and children and was entirely staffed by women from the medical staff to the governing board.2
In 1886, she met William R. Stewart, a law student from Pennsylvania. They relocated to Youngtown in 1890, where she established her medical practice, organized the YWCA, and sponsored Youngtown’s first free kindergarten and cared for her mother.3
Consuelo suffered from pernicious anemia most of her life and died on April 10, 1910. Towards the end of life her husband had her committed to the Ohio State Hospital for the Insane at Massillon, she was judged to be insane because she said that her husband had abused her
Her medical practice which centered on immigrant steelworkers and her obituary in the Cleveland Gazette says this:
“The group which gathered around her coffin in her home was truly indicative of the life she had led … Greeks, Slavs, Roumanians, Russians, and Polish Jews gathered around her coffin and the Catholics, crossing themselves, muttered prayers for the repose of the soul that had pitied their sorrows.”5

1America’s First Black Socialist; The Radical Life of Peter H. Clark. University of Kentucky Press, 2013, Nikki Marie Taylor, pg.74
 Colored Conventions: Bringine Nineteenth-Century Black Organizing to Digital Life 
Colored Conventions: Bringing Nineteenth-Century Black Organizing to Digital Life.
4 Ibid
5 Cincinnati Sites & Stories Gravesite of Dr. Consuelo Clark-Stewart - Pioneering physician with a tragic personal story | Cincinnati Sites and Stories (
Black Women Physicians U - Z
About the Traveling Exhibition