Dorchester Atheneum
Monday, January 25, 2021
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Mary Jane Safford Blake
 Percival Street has significant historical associations with Dorchester native Dr. Mary Jane Safford-Blake. Safford-Blake was among the first, if not the first women gynecologists in this country. She specialized in the care of the poor and indigent females of the inner city, which at that point did not mean Dorchester but the impoverished, immigrant inner core of Boston -- the North, South, and West Ends and the South Bay area of South Boston. While living at 5 Percival Street during the early 1870s, Mary Jane Safford Blake became estranged from her husband James Blake and enrolled in medical school in New York. [Editor's note: she actually graduated from New York Medical Colege for Women in 1869--prior to her marriage to Blake whose name seems to have been Gorham per marriage cert. Sept. 25, 1872, from Cook County, Illinois] She attended Heidelberg University in Germany with friend and fellow medical student Isabel Chapin Barrows, the first woman ophthalmologist in America. By 1874, Mary Safford-Blake was one of only two professors in the gynecological field at Boston University; she is listed in a catalogue as teaching a course called "Diseases of Women".

For a pdf version of an article on Dr. Safford Blake by Anthony Sammarco published in the Dorchester Community News on November 4, 1994 Click here.

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St. Peter's Roman Catholic ChurchLydia Clapp House
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Created: June 3, 2007   Modified: June 3, 2007