Bill Bennett’s imaginary feminist hero: Elizabeth Blackwell

elizabeth blackwellBill Bennett always seemed like a kind, jovial man, who gives off the impression of a caring grandfather-type whose wisdom is to be trusted. No more. Not after the January 23rd entry of his American Patriot’s Almanac on female icon Elizabeth Blackwell, where he has revealed himself as a teller of tall tales. A fabulist. Or just a liar. He begins:

On January 23, 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman in the United States to receive a medical degree when she graduated from New York’s Geneva Medical College.

There’s gotta be a first for everything (except women on the front line of combat, that’ll never happen in any decent, chivalrous nation), so Elizabeth Blackwell filling that role is nothing remarkable. My skepticism was sparked, however, when Bennett started describing how she got there.

Blackwell had emigrated with her family from England to the U.S. at age eleven after her father’s sugar refinery business failed. A few years later her father died, and she took up teaching to help support the family.

Working to support the family? Had she never heard of welfare? The story continues to get more absurd: Continue reading