Anandibai Joshi – a snapshot biography.

Anandibai Gopal Joshi

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.


  4. Photo taken by Caroline Wells Healey Dall, Drexel University College of Medicine ( / Wikimedia Commons

A snapshot biography of Ely Parker

Ely Parker

Ely Parker was a Native American, born to a Seneca Nation family in 1828. Raised in his tribe, but educated in white society at a Baptist Mission School, he learned to bridge the two worlds from a young age. 

His perspective and learnings put him in a position to take on important roles in his tribe. As a fourteen year old, the elders of his tribe selected him to become a translator, interpreter and scribe for meetings with government leaders. 

Then years later, after meeting and becoming friends with Ulysses Grant in 1860, Ely became a Lieutenant Colonel for the North during the Civil War. And when it came time for the South to surrender, it was Ely who wrote final draft of the terms. 

After the Civil War, Ely became the first Native American to be Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

Sources: Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War Personalities and Scenes, National Archives / Wikimedia Commons /

Portrait of students at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania

Portrait of Anandibai Gopal Joshi, Kei Okami, Sabat Islambouli. They were international students from India, Japan, and Syria respectively, who were studying at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania when this portrait was taken in 1885.

Anandibai would graduate in 1886, Kei in 1889 and Sabat in 1890. Anandibai passed away shortly after graduation in 1887 from tuberculosis. Kei and Sabat returned to their respective homes after graduation and practiced medicine there.

Sources: Drexel Libraries E-Repository and Archives / The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia / / / / Wikimedia Commons.

Portrait of four Women Airforce Service Pilots

WASP Pilots in front of USAAF B-17 “Pistol Packin Mama”

Portrait of Frances Green, Margaret (Peg) Kirchner, Ann Waldner and Blanche Osborn, Women Airforce Service Pilots during WWII, pictured here as they leave their airplane, nicknamed “Pistol Packin Mama,” during training.

Sources: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force / Unknown, “WASP Pilots in front of USAAF B-17 “Pistol Packin Mama.”,” The United States in World War II: Historical Debates about America at War, accessed December 6, 2020,

The short story of Vivien Thomas

Vivien Thomas

As a teenager growing up in Nashville in the 1920s, Vivien Thomas hoped to become a doctor. But the Great Depression kept that dream from coming to be. As he planned to start college, his education focus shifted to finances and he looked for a job.

Vivien found work as a surgical research assistant at Vanderbilt University, working with surgeon Alfred Blalock. There he worked long hours assisting with experiments, some days in the lab for up to sixteen hours. But their work led to groundbreaking research around shock, which led to research on crush syndrome that would save the lives of thousands of soldiers during WWII. 

In the early 1940’s, Vivien moved with Alfred to Johns Hopkins University. There they continued conducting research. Working together with Dr. Helen Taussig, they discovered a treatment for Blue Baby Syndrome. Vivien was instrumental to preparing experiments and for the surgery itself. 

Throughout these experiences, Vivien had to deal with the racial climate of the time. He was often underpaid, working in segregated environments, not being credited appropriately for his contributions. And he never ended up going to college. But he continued to work hard, mastering his craft. He became so good at his work that one surgeon remarked, “Even if you’d never seen surgery before, you could do it because Vivien made it look so simple.”

In 1976 Johns Hopkins University awarded Vivien an honorary doctorate and named him an instructor of surgery for the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He became a teacher of operative techniques to many of the most prominent surgeons in the U.S.

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Sources: / / Thomas, Vivien (1985). Pioneering Research in Surgical Shock and Cardiovascular Surgery: Vivien Thomas and his Work with Alfred Blalock. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-7989-1

Astronomer Beatrice Tinsley – a snapshot biography.

Beatrice Tinsley

Beatrice Tinsley loved music, she loved math, she enjoyed being in the outdoors and she was completely unafraid to speak her mind, blithe to authority.

As a child Beatrice dreamt of being a scientist. Her path to becoming one started in Chester, England, where she was born in 1941, then continued to New Zealand with her family shortly after the end of WWII. There she would go to college, earn a Masters of Science in Physics, marry a classmate. Life then took them to the U.S. where her husband took a job in Dallas, Texas. And where Beatrice, who already caused uproar by refusing to host a tea party when hosting was her turn, decided to pursue her dream and enrolled in the PhD program at UT-Austin. Her commute each way was 200 miles. But she earned top scores on exams, conducted pioneering research in the evolution of universes, and in 1966 earned her doctorate.

But still, this was the 1960s and Beatrice was a woman. A job was hard to come by. After years of struggle to find a position, in 1974 she become an assistant professor of astronomy at Yale. 

At Yale, she conducted groundbreaking work, won awards, published over 100 articles, mentored many women scientists. She was known for being confident, positive, devoted to her work, an inspiration to others, enthusiastic, interested in her research and that happening in the field. And for some, as the “Queen of the Cosmos.”

In 1978, Beatrice became a professor of astronomy at Yale, the first woman to do so. That year she was also diagnosed with cancer, melanoma. Three years later she passed away at the age of 40. 



Gene Wilder quote: “I like writing books.”

Gene Wilder

“I like writing books. I’d rather be at home with my wife. I can write, take a break, come out, have a glass of tea, give my wife a kiss, and go back in and write some more. It’s not so bad. I am really lucky.”

– Gene Wilder

Sources: Portrait is a publicity photo of Gene Wilder from the film Start the Revolution Without Me / Wikimedia Commons.