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Picture of Caroline V. Still Anderson
Caroline V. Still Anderson

Caroline V. Still Anderson, daughter of noted abolitionist William Still who wrote the Underground Railroad, was one of this country's pioneer black female physicians, prominent in many educational and civic activities.

Born in Philadelphia in 1848, Anderson studied at a private school and later at that city's Institute for Colored Youth. She entered Oberlin College in Ohio and graduated in 1868 at 19 -- the only black woman and youngest in her class. She taught music, drawing and speech at Howard University in Washington, D.C., before enrolling at the university's medical department in 1876.

With one year of medical study behind her, she transferred to the Women's Medical College in Philadelphia to complete the requirements for her medical degree. Anderson also served as consultant and resident physician in many of Philadelphia's hospitals and established her own successful private practice.

In 1880 she married the Rev. Matthew Anderson, pastor of Berean Presbyterian Church. She managed both the church clinic and her own practice. Anderson later became assistant principal and instructor of physiology, speech and hygiene at the Berean Manual Training and Industrial School.

Anderson's tireless devotion included missionary work for the church, membership in the Women's Medical Society and on the board of the Home for the Aged and Infirm Colored of Philadelphia. She also organized the first Young Women's Christian Association for blacks in Philadelphia.

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