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Austin, Harriet N. (1825–1891), hydropathic physician and health and dress reformer, was born in Connecticut but raised in Moravia, New York. Little is known about her parentage or early life. At age twenty-six she enrolled in the first class of the coeducational American Hydropathic Institute operated by ...

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Merrick, Myra King (15 August 1825–10 November 1899), physician and educator, was born in Hinckley, Leicestershire, England, the daughter of Richard King, a brickmaker, and Elizabeth (maiden name unknown). In 1826 the family emigrated to the United States and settled in Taunton, Massachusetts. At the age of eight, Myra began working in Taunton’s textile mills, helping to support a family that now numbered five children. In 1841 the family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where she secured employment as a nurse to several physicians in the area and developed an interest in medicine as a profession. After her marriage to builder and machinist Charles H. Merrick in 1848, the couple moved to Connecticut, where she began the study of medicine under New Haven physicians Eli Ives, professor of theory and practice of medicine at Yale University, and his obstetrician son, Levi Ives....

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Nichols, Mary Gove (10 August 1810–30 May 1884), reformer and author, was born Mary Sargeant Neal in Goffstown, New Hampshire, the daughter of William A. Neal and Rebecca R. Neal. Although Mary’s formal education was limited, with encouragement from her freethinking father she was reading by the age of six. Her father treated her like a son, and the two often engaged in “intellectual sparring.” Despite her abilities, Mary was a shy and lonely child who never felt equal to her siblings....