Anandibai Joshi journeyed from India to the U.S. to pursue a medical school education in 1883. Prior to leaving, she wrote her sponsor, a wealthy woman from New Jersey who over years of correspondence had become akin to family, “You have reason to think that this very distant voyage will be hazardous for a girl of 18 because the world is full of frauds and dangers, but dear Aunt, wherever I cast my glance, I see nothing but a straight and smooth way. I fear no miseries. I shrink not at the recollection of dangers, nor do I fear them.”
This was Anandibai. Fearless. Staunch in the pursuit of her goals. By eighteen she had already overcome much. Married at the age of nine, at fourteen she endured the loss of her child ten days after giving birth. And then she spent much of her late teens in poor health, suffering from a multitude of maladies including weakness and frequent headaches.
But education was important to her. It had been for much of life. Born into a wealthy family, her father went against customs to have his daughter educated and her husband supported Anandibai’s studies as well.
In the U.S., she was admitted to and attended the Women’s Medical College. After graduating in 1886, she traveled back to India in hopes of practicing medicine there. But she became ill shortly after her return, passing away in 1887 from tuberculosis.
- Photo taken by Caroline Wells Healey Dall, Drexel University College of Medicine (http://xdl.drexelmed.edu/item.php?object_id=001128) / Wikimedia Commons