ENTRY

Sarah Garland Boyd Jones (1866–1905)

SUMMARY

Sarah Garland Boyd Jones became the first African American woman to pass the Virginia Medical Examining Board’s examination. Jones grew up among Richmond‘s Black elite and became a teacher upon graduating from Richmond Colored Normal School. She entered Howard University’s medical school in 1890 and earned her medical degree three years later. Jones established a successful practice in Richmond. She and her physician husband helped create a medical association for Virginia’s African American doctors, and the pair opened their own small hospital. She died of active cerebral congestion at her Richmond home on May 11, 1905. In 1922, the Sarah G. Jones Memorial Hospital, Medical College and Training School for Nurses (later Richmond Community Hospital) was named in her honor.

READING LEVEL
Grade 4

Sarah G. Boyd was born in February 1866. Her mother was named Ellen D. Boyd. Her father was a builder named George W. Boyd. Boyd was born in Albemarle County. Her family moved to Henrico County late in the 1860s. Then they moved to Richmond. Her father became a well-known contractor. He built the Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church, the large hall of the Grand Fountain United Order of True Reformers, and other famous sites. Boyd was called Sallie when she was young. She went to the Richmond Colored Normal School. Her fellow students included John Mitchell Jr., and Maggie Lena Mitchell (later Walker). She graduated in 1883. Then she became a teacher at Baker School in Richmond. She taught at the school for five years. Rosa L. Dixon Bowser and the poet Daniel Webster Davis taught with her. On July 4, 1888, she married a fellow teacher, Miles B. Jones. They had no children.

In 1890, Sarah Jones moved to Washington, D.C. She wanted to study medicine. She went to Howard University. In 1893, she earned her MD. She and eighty-five others stood before the Virginia Medical Examining Board. This board was in charge of doctors in Virginia. They decided who could practice medicine. On April 27, 1890, Jones became the first Black woman to pass their exam. The first white woman had passed in 1890. Jones earned her best scores in surgery, practice, and hygiene. She set up her practice in Richmond. During the 1890s, Black people in Richmond were dying at nearly twice the rate as white people. Black women suffered more stillbirths. Jones was one of only three female doctors and about six Black doctors in the city. She offered a one-hour free daily clinic for women and children.

In 1893, Jones began work as a medical examiner. First she worked for the female members of the Southern Aid and Insurance Company. This was the first company of its kind to be owned by Black people. In 1897, she also worked for the new Woman’s Corner Stone Beneficial Association. In 1899, Dr. Robert Emmett Jones founded the Women’s Central League of Richmond. This group helped women learn a variety of jobs. They ran a nurses’ training school. Jones spoke at the school. She spoke about poor access to health care in Richmond’s Black community.

At the time, white doctors formed groups to help each other. These groups were called societies. Black doctors were not welcome. So, Jones and her husband helped start a new group. On February 19, 1902, they formed the Medical and Chirurgical Society of Richmond. Chirurgical means work done with the hands. It is another word for surgery. Their group wanted to build more places where Black people could go for surgery and medical care. In October 1902, they formed the Richmond Hospital Association. They bought a house on East Baker Street. There, in February 1903, they opened a hospital for Black patients. A month later, they started a school at the site. This school trained nurses. The hospital had rooms for twenty-five patients. It also had a charity ward with sixteen beds. In March 1905, it became the Richmond Hospital Association and Medical College, and Training School for Nurses, Incorporated.

Dr. Jones helped both Black and white patients. She blazed a trail for Black people and women. She and her husband owned a large brick house in Jackson Ward. She was known for her team of horses. In April 1905, Jones became ill after caring for a patient. She died at home on May 11, 1905. Hundreds of people from Richmond came to her funeral. She was buried in the city’s Evergreen Cemetery. In 1922, the Sarah G. Jones Memorial Hospital, Medical College and Training School for Nurses was named for her. It was renamed Richmond Community Hospital in 1945. Sarah Garland Jones Center sits nearby. Its outdoor Legacy Wall honors Dr. Jones and other Black founders.

Grade 8

Sarah G. Boyd was born in February 1866 in Albemarle County. She was the daughter of Ellen D. Boyd and George W. Boyd, a builder. The family moved to Henrico County late in the 1860s. Then they moved to Richmond, where her father became a well-known contractor. He constructed many famous buildings such as Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church and the large hall of the Grand Fountain United Order of True Reformers. In her youth, Boyd was called Sallie Boyd. She attended the Richmond Colored Normal School with fellow students John Mitchell Jr., and Maggie Lena Mitchell (later Walker). She graduated in 1883 and became a teacher at Baker School in Richmond. She taught alongside pioneering educator Rosa L. Dixon Bowser and the poet Daniel Webster Davis. She taught at the school for five years. On July 4, 1888, she married a fellow teacher, Miles B. Jones. They had no children.

In 1890, Sarah Jones began studying medicine. She attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. She received her MD in 1893. On April 27 of that year, she and eighty-five others stood before the Virginia Medical Examining Board. Jones became the first African American woman to pass their exam. The first white woman had passed in 1890. Jones received her best scores in surgery, practice, and hygiene. She set up her practice in Richmond. During the 1890s, the mortality rate for Richmond’s Black residents was nearly twice as high as for white residents. Black women suffered a larger number of stillbirths. Jones was one of only three female doctors and about half a dozen Black doctors in the city. She offered a one-hour free daily clinic for women and children.

In 1893, Jones began working as a medical examiner. First she worked for the female members of the Southern Aid and Insurance Company. In 1897, she also worked for the new Woman’s Corner Stone Beneficial Association. In 1899, Dr. Robert Emmett Jones founded the Women’s Central League of Richmond. This group helped women learn a variety of jobs. They operated a nurses’ training school. Jones lectured at the school. She shared her concerns about poor access to medical care in Richmond’s African American community.

Black physicians were not yet welcome in the medical societies of white physicians. So, Jones and her husband helped start a group for Black doctors. They formed the Medical and Chirurgical Society of Richmond on February 19, 1902. This society wanted to build more medical facilities for Black people. They formed the Richmond Hospital Association in October 1902. They bought a house on East Baker Street. There, in February 1903, they opened a hospital for Black patients. A month later, they started a school at the site to train nurses. The hospital had rooms for twenty-five patients. It also had a charity ward with sixteen beds. In March 1905, it became the Richmond Hospital Association and Medical College, and Training School for Nurses, Incorporated.

Jones established a successful practice that treated both Black and white patients. She and her husband owned a large brick house in Jackson Ward. She was noted for her team of horses. In April 1905, Jones became ill after caring for a patient. She died at her Richmond home on May 11, 1905. Hundreds of Richmond residents attended her funeral. She was buried in the city’s Evergreen Cemetery. In 1922, the Sarah G. Jones Memorial Hospital, Medical College and Training School for Nurses was named in her honor. It was renamed Richmond Community Hospital in 1945. Sarah Garland Jones Center is a few hundred yards away. It includes an outdoor Legacy Wall that honors the hospital’s African American founders.

Grades 11+
Richmond Colored Normal School

Boyd was born in February 1866 in Albemarle County and was the daughter of Ellen D. Boyd and George W. Boyd, a builder. The family moved to Henrico County late in the 1860s and then to Richmond, where her father became a well-known contractor who constructed, among other notable buildings, Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church and the large hall of the Grand Fountain United Order of True Reformers. Sallie Boyd, as she was known in her youth, attended the Richmond Colored Normal School with fellow students John Mitchell Jr. and Maggie Lena Mitchell (later Walker). After graduating in 1883, Boyd became a teacher at Baker School in the city, where she taught alongside pioneering educator Rosa L. Dixon Bowser and the poet Daniel Webster Davis. She remained on the faculty for five years and on July 4, 1888, married another fellow teacher, Miles B. Jones. They had no children.

In 1890, Sarah Jones began studying medicine at Howard University, in Washington, D.C. She received her MD in 1893 and on April 27 of that year became the first African American woman to pass the Virginia Medical Examining Board’s examination (the first white woman had passed in 1890). One of eighty-six applicants who appeared before the board that day, she received her highest scores in surgery, practice, and hygiene. Jones established her practice in Richmond and offered a one-hour free daily clinic for women and children. Throughout the decade, Richmond’s African Americans suffered a mortality rate nearly twice that of white residents, and Black women suffered a disproportionate number of stillbirths. During the 1890s, Jones was one of only three female physicians and about half a dozen African American physicians in the city.

In 1893, Jones became the medical examiner for the female members of the Southern Aid and Insurance Company, which touted itself as the only such company to recognize female doctors. In 1897, she also served as the medical examiner for the recently organized Woman’s Corner Stone Beneficial Association. Concerned about the availability of professional medical care within Richmond’s African American community, Jones lectured at the nurses’ training school operated by the Woman’s Central League of Richmond, which had been established by physician Robert Emmett Jones in 1899 to train women in a variety of professions.

An Emergency Case Operating Room of the Richmond Hospital.

Because African American physicians were not yet welcome in the medical societies of white physicians, on February 19, 1902, Jones and her husband, who had earned his MD from Howard University the previous year, helped establish the Medical and Chirurgical Society of Richmond. Recognizing the need for additional medical facilities available to African Americans, several members of the society, including Jones and her husband, organized the Richmond Hospital Association in October 1902. The association purchased a house on East Baker Street, where it opened a hospital for Black patients in February 1903 and a school to train nurses scheduled to begin a month later. The hospital had rooms for twenty-five patients and a charity ward with sixteen beds. In March 1905, it became the Richmond Hospital Association and Medical College, and Training School for Nurses, Incorporated.

Jones established a successful practice in which she treated both Black and white patients. She and her husband owned a large brick house in Jackson Ward, and she was noted for her team of horses. In April 1905, Jones became ill after caring for a patient. She died of active cerebral congestion at her Richmond home on May 11, 1905. Following a funeral attended by hundreds of Richmonders, she was buried in the city’s Evergreen Cemetery. In 1922, the Sarah G. Jones Memorial Hospital, Medical College and Training School for Nurses (Richmond Community Hospital after 1945) was named in her honor.

MAP
TIMELINE
February 1866
Sarah Garland Boyd is born in Albemarle County, the daughter of Ellen D. Boyd and George W. Boyd.
Late 1860s
Sarah Garland Boyd moves to Henrico County and then to Richmond.
1883
Sarah Garland Boyd graduates from the Richmond Colored Normal School, which she attended with fellow students John Mitchel Jr., and Maggie Lena Mitchell (later Walker).
1883
Sarah Garland Boyd becomes a teacher at Baker School in Richmond, where she teaches alongside the pioneering educator Rosa L. Dixon Bowser and the poet Daniel Webster Davis. She will remain on the faculty for five years.
July 4, 1888
Sarah Garland Boyd marries fellow teacher Miles B. Jones. They will have no children.
1890
Sarah Garland Boyd Jones begins studying medicine at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
1890s
Sarah Garland Boyd Jones establishes a medical practice in Richmond and offers a one-hour free daily clinic for women and children. During the decade Jones is one of only three female physicians and about a dozen African American physicians in the city.
1893
Sarah Garland Boyd Jones receives her MD from Howard University in Washington, D.C.
1893
Sarah Garland Boyd Jones becomes the medical examiner for the female members of the Southern Aid and Insurance Company, which touts itself as the only company to recognize female doctors.
April 27, 1893
Sarah Garland Boyd Jones becomes the first African American woman to pass the Virginia Medical Examining Board's examination. She receives her highest scores in surgery, practice, and hygiene.
1897
Sarah Garland Boyd Jones serves as the medical examiner for the recently organized Women's Corner Stone Beneficial Association.
1899
Sarah Garland Boyd Jones lectures at a nurses' training school, which is operated by the Women's Central League of Richmond.
February 19, 1902
Sarah Garland Boyd Jones, with her husband Miles B. Jones, helps establish the Medical and Chirurgical Society of Richmond.
October 1902
Sarah Garland Boyd Jones, along with several members of the Medical and Chirurgical Society of Richmond, organize the Richmond Hospital Association to respond to the need for additional medical facilities available to African Americans in the city.
February 1903
The Richmond Hospital Association, of which Sarah Garland Boyd Jones is a member, opens a hospital for black patients in Richmond. The hospital has rooms for twenty-five patients and a charity ward with sixteen beds.
March 1903
The Richmond Hospital Association, of which Sarah Garland Boyd Jones is a member, begins training nurses at a hospital for black patients.
March 1905
The hospital on East Baker Street opened by the Richmond Hospital Association, of which Sarah Garland Boyd Jones is a member, becomes the Richmond Hospital Association and Medical College, and Training School for Nurses, Incorporated.
April 1905
Sarah Garland Boyd Jones becomes ill after caring for a patient.
May 11, 1905
Sarah Garland Boyd Jones dies in her Richmond home of active cerebral congestion. She will be buried in Richmond's Evergreen Cemetery.
1922
The Sarah G. Jones Memorial hospital, Medical College and Training School for Nurses (Richmond Community Hospital after 1945), is named in Sarah Garland Boyd Jones's honor.
FURTHER READING
  • K. Richmond Temple, “Sarah G. Jones: A Pioneer Physician.” Richmond Quarterly 7 (winter 1984): 48–49.
CITE THIS ENTRY
APA Citation:
Julienne, Marianne & Dictionary of Virginia Biography. Sarah Garland Boyd Jones (1866–1905). (2020, December 07). In Encyclopedia Virginia. https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/jones-sarah-garland-boyd-1866-1905.
MLA Citation:
Julienne, Marianne, and Dictionary of Virginia Biography. "Sarah Garland Boyd Jones (1866–1905)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (07 Dec. 2020). Web. 03 Mar. 2024
Last updated: 2023, July 06
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