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MERRICK, MYRA KING

MERRICK, MYRA KING (1825-11 Nov. 1899), the first female physician in Ohio and one of the first in the U.S., was born in Hinkley, Leicestershire, England, the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (King) Merrick. She immigrated to Boston with her parents, worked in cotton mills, and moved to Cleveland in 1841. After marrying Chas. H. Merrick in 1848, they moved to Connecticut. When her husband became ill, Merrick entered medicine to support her family and care for her husband. As far as can be determined, she attended lectures at Hyatt's Academy, New York; studied with Levi Ives, New Haven, Conn.; was trained at Nichol's Hydropathic Institute; and received her M.D. from Central Medical College, Rochester, N.Y., in 1852

Returning to Cleveland in the 1850s, Merrick developed a thriving medical practice, especially among the rich and influential, such as JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER's family. During the CIVIL WAR, while her husband served in the Union Army, she also ran the family lumber business. Since the Western Homeopathic College was closed to females, Merrick helped establish Cleveland Homeopathic Hospital College for Women in 1867, serving as president and professor of obstetrics and diseases of women and children. In 1878, Merrick and former student, Kate Parsons, founded Women's & Children's Free Medical & Surgical Dispensary, forerunner of WOMAN'S GENERAL HOSPITAL. Merrick was president until her death. Merrick, who divorced her husband in 1881, had 2 children, Richard L. and Arthur (d. 1864). Her daughter-in-law, Eliza K. Merrick, practiced medicine with her. Merrick was a member of the Unity Church and the Homeopathic Society. She is buried in Elyria, Ohio.


Chas. H. Merrick Papers, WRHS.

Gibbons, Marion N., "A Woman Carries the Caduceus--Myra K. Merrick." In Pioneer Women in the Western Reserve, ed. Howard Dittrick (1932).

Brown, Kent L. ed. Medicine in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, 1810-1976 (1977).