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Buckel, C. Annette (25 August 1833–17 August 1912), physician, Civil War nurse, and mental health activist, was born Cloe Annette Buckel in Warsaw, New York, the daughter of Thomas Buckel and his wife (given name unknown), whose surname was Bartlett. Both parents died when Buckel, an only child, was three months old. Until the age of four she lived with her grandparents, and after they died she lived with two young aunts, neither of whom exhibited much warmth toward her. By age four Buckel had learned to read and write. Quickly outgrowing the local district school, she moved on to a more advanced one in a neighboring town. At age fourteen she started teaching school, boarding with her students’ parents, both in New York State and in Canada. While a youth she decided to become a physician. Financially unable to immediately begin formal medical school, she worked in a burnishing factory in Connecticut, living with her employer’s family, and studied Latin as she worked. By living simply and borrowing on a life insurance policy she had purchased, Buckel was able to enter the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1856. She later demonstrated the high regard she felt for the school by leaving it a bequest in her will....

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Safford, Mary Jane (31 December 1834–08 December 1891), Civil War nurse and physician, was born in Hyde Park, Vermont, the daughter of Joseph Warren Safford and Diantha Little, farmers. Mary had three older brothers and one or two sisters. In 1837 or 1838 the entire family moved to the frontier town of Crete, Illinois, in Will County, on the Indiana border about thirty miles south of Chicago. Mary, an unusually intelligent child, received some education at home under the tutelage of her mother. To further her education, Mary was sent to Canada, probably near Montreal, during the early 1840s. There she learned French, needlework, and German. According to contemporary documents, she then undertook further educational travels in the United States and the West Indies before returning to Illinois to live. Her father died when Mary was fourteen, and her mother died the following year. She subsequently lived with one of her brothers, Alfred Boardman Safford, who had prepared for a legal career but became a successful businessman....