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Extract from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson by Jo Manton

Elizabeth Garrett L.S.A. painted soon after her qualification as a doctor.
Exactly a hundred years ago, in 1865, a woman first obtained a legal qualification in this country as physician and surgeon. Elizabeth Garrett, the red-headed apparently demure daughter of a country merchant, surprised public opinion by being 'almost pretty '. She surprised it still further by the calm obstinacy with which she fought for her own medical education and that of the young women who followed her. Her pioneering zest did not desert her as she grew older.

At thirty-four she topped the poll in the elections to the first London School Board, at thirty-seven she became the only woman member of the British Medical Association, at forty-seven the first woman Dean of a medical school, and at seventy-one Britain's first woman Mayor. Love and marriage were interwoven with her struggle, and as wife and mother with a full professional life to lead she met many of the problems which confront women today. Nor has her spirited charm faded with the passing of a century.

This, the first full biography, is based largely on unpublished material from the hospitals and medical schools where Elizabeth Garrett Anderson worked, and the private papers of the Garrett and Anderson families. The author was a scholar of Girton College Cambridge, where she took first class honours in history. She has written biographies for young people, one of which won a national book award in the U.S.A.

She is the wife of the poet and scholar Robert Gittings with whom she has collaborated in historical and biographical works.