Dr. Susan Maria Smith McKinney Steward, Physician

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NYPL: psnypl_scg_394
Portrait Collection




Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
Susan McKinney Steward was Sarah Garnet's younger sister, and equally energetic and ambitious. Admitted to the New York Medical College for Women, a homeopathetic school founded by a wealthy white abolitionist woman, Clarence Sophia Lozier, McKinney graduated as class valedictorian in 1870.

In her medical practice, Steward treated both blacks and whites, and specialized in childhood diseases such as marasmus (a wasting away of the body). White newspapers of the time noted that she had “a handsome bank account and lives well [in the] fashionable quarter of the hill.” Given that homeopathy was much more liberal than traditional branches of medicine, McKinney was welcomed into its professional associations, and became a member of state and county homeopathic societies. Unlike her sister, she was able successfully to combine marriage, work, and feminism.


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“Dr. Susan Maria Smith McKinney Steward, Physician,” Black Gotham Archive, accessed July 10, 2018, https://archive.blackgothamarchive.org/items/show/64/.