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Memorable Manitobans: Elinor Frances Elizabeth Black (1905-1982)

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Elinor Frances Elizabeth Black
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Born at Nelson, British Columbia in 1905, she moved to Winnipeg with her family at the age of 12. She was educated at Kelvin High School and the Manitoba Medical School, graduating in 1930. After a year in Britain she set up practice in Winnipeg in 1931. In 1937 she received a six-month appointment as house surgeon at the South London Hospital for Women, following which she took the examination to become, in 1938, the first Canadian woman member of the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

During the Manitoba Flood in 1950, she handled the opening of the Women’s Pavilion at the Winnipeg General Hospital with considerable aplomb. In 1951 she was appointed Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Manitoba, resigning from the Chair in 1960. In 1961, she was elected the first female President of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. She retired from the University in 1964, although she continued to teach for many years thereafter. In 1970 she was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Winnipeg.

She died at Winnipeg home, 30 Spence Street, on 30 January 1982. Her research papers are at the University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections, as is her correspondence with Arthur Stoughton.

See also:

“Doctors are Men”: Dr. Elinor Black and Second-Generation Women Physicians in Manitoba by Nicole Fletcher
Manitoba History, Number 80, Spring 2016

Tell the Driver: A Biography of Elinor F. E. Black, M.D. by Julie Vandervoort (1992).


“Dr. Elinor Black gets U post,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 November 1951. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B10]

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 1 February 1982.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 3 December 2019

Memorable Manitobans

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