The Dimock Center


Pioneers of Dimock

Dr. Marie Zakrewska
Founder of the New England Hospital for Women and Children


With the financial support of local Boston women supporters, Dr. Zakrewska (Dr. "Z") founded the New England Hospital for Women and Children in 1862. In 1969, in response to community need, the hospital became Dimock Community Health Center.  In 2007, Dimock Community Health Center was renamed "The Dimock Center" to more fully incorporate the wealth of services offered to the community.

In founding the hospital, Dr. Zakrewska's goal was to provide medical services to women by women. She was also instrumental in training women to become doctors and nurses at a time when women were not admitted to medical schools in Boston. Dr Zakrewska devoted the rest of her life to The New England Hospital for Women.

Dr. Lucy Ellen Sewall
Leader in the Women's Medical Movement

Dr. Sewall served as resident physician at the New England Hospital for Women and Children from 1863-1869, handling the management of the hospital, the instruction of the students, and the patient care in the dispensary.

Sewall continued to serve the hospital as an attending physician until her health failed in 1888.

Dr Sewall's social position and medical competence helped to gain acceptance for other women doctors and for the New England Hospital in its formative years.

Linda Ann Richards
America's First Professionally Trained Nurse

One day while browsing in a bookstore, Linda Richards came across a handbill announcing the "New England Hospital for Women and Children," a chance encounter that changed her life.

In the summer of 1872, upon presenting herself to Dr. "Z", Richards asked: "May I enroll as a student nurse in this hospital?" The response was a warm "You will be our first student."

Later, Richards became superintendent of nurses at the Massachusetts General Hospital where she developed a training program for nurses and introduced the idea of keeping patient records and the practice of nurses wearing uniforms. In addition, Linda Richards was a pioneer in industrial and psychiatric nursing.

Mary Eliza Mahoney
Nation's First Black Graduate Nurse

At 33 years old, Mary Eliza Mahoney was accepted at the New England Hospital for Women and Children. After successfully completing the 16-month training program, Mahoney became the first Black woman to graduate from a professional nursing school.

The curriculum at the New England Hospital was so rigorous, that only three women in a class of 42 were graduated in Mahoney's class in 1879. In 1936, in recognition of Mary Eliza Mahoney's outstanding contributions to the field of nursing, a "Mary Mahoney Award" was established in her name.

Dr. Susan Dimock
Surgeon and Organizer of the Nurse Training Program

As a young woman, Susan Dimock applied for admission to the training program at the New England Hospital for Women and Children. Later, she became a resident physician and the hospital's first attending surgeon.

Dimock had previously applied to Harvard Medical School for admission, but was refused because she was a female. Instead, Dr. Dimock completed her medical training at the University of Zurich where she distinguished herself. In 1875, Dr. Dimock tragically died in a steamship wreck off the coast of England, an irreplaceable loss for the New England Hospital.

Lucy Goddard
President and Supporter of the New England Hospital for a quarter century

Lucy Goddard served as president of the New England Hospital for Women and Children for nearly a quarter century.

In the last few days of here life, Goddard was a patient at the New England Hospital.

Although unaware that she was being cared for at the hospital where she had served so many years of her life, she continually voiced her appreciation to the physicians, saying: "Everybody is so kind and it seems as if they love to take care of you."

Ednah Dow Cheney
Writer, Reformer, and Philanthropist

Ednah Dow Cheney was devoted to many causes such as equal rights for women and Blacks, and was a founding member of the New England Women's Club.

Through Dr. Marie Zakrewska, she became interested in medical education for women.

When Dr. Zakrewska founded the New England Hospital for Women and Children in 1862, Ednah Cheney became its first secretary and served as president in 1887.