Helen was born
in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was the youngest of four children
and was very sick when she was little. Helen's father taught at
Harvard and was an advisor to President Woodrow Wilson. Her mother
died when Helen was 11 years old. Helen missed a lot of school when
she became ill with tuberculosis. Helen's father was surprised and
upset when he realized that Helen had a reading disability that
caused her to see words backwards. He worked with her to help her
overcome her disability and eventually she became such a good student
she could attend Radcliff College.
her degree at Radcliff Helen tried to enter Harvard, but Harvard
would not admit women. She took an anatomy course at Boston University
and received good advice from her professor who told her to apply
to John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. John Hopkins
College was one of the only medical colleges that would allow women
to take courses to become a doctor.