Elizabeth Blackwell was an American teacher who taught herself basic science and then trained through private instruction at the Charleston Medical School in New York. She was awarded the M.D. degree in 1849 from Geneva Medical College in New York, and was the first woman to become a modern doctor. For thousands of years the medical professions were reserved almost exclusively for men. Since the 17th century it had become more difficult for women to be involved in medicine. The wise women of the Middles Ages disappeared and midwifery steadily became a job for doctors.