He believed in woman as only a thoroughly good man can, and from early youth, he had been impressed with her peculiar fitness for the practice of medicine. The experience of a physician confirmed him in his sentiments, and it became one of his most earnest aspirations to open to her all the avenues to the study of medicine. In the year 1840, he gave regular instruction to a class of ladies, and it was through one of these pupils, that the first female graduate in America was interested in the study of medicine. In 1846 he communicated to a few liberal-minded professional men, a plan for the establishment of a college of the highest grade for the medical education of women. This long-cherished plan, hallowed to him by the approbation of a beloved wife, was well received. Others, with indomitable zeal, took up the work, and finally, after a succession of disappointments and discouragements from causes within and without, the Woman’s College, on North College avenue, Philadelphia, starting from the germ of his thought, entered on the career of prosperity it is so well entitled to receive. Though never at any time connected with the college, he regarded its success with the most affectionate interest, considering its proposition as one of the most important results of his life.
Happy in having lived to see Slavery abolished, and believing in the speedy elevation of woman to her true dignity as joint sovereign with man, and in the mitigation of the evils of war, intemperance, poverty, and crime, which might be expected to follow such a result, he rested from his labors, and died in peace.
Thomas Shipley, one of the foremost in the early generation of philanthropists who devoted their lives to the extinction of human slavery, was born in Philadelphia on the second of Fourth month, 1787. He was the youngest of five children of William and Margaret Shipley, his father having emigrated from Uttoxeter, in Staffordshire, England, about the year 1750. From a very early period in the history of the Society of Friends his ancestors had been members of that body, and he inherited from them the strong sense of personal independence, and the love of toleration and respect for the rights of others which have ever characterized that body of people.
Soon after his birth, his mother died, and he was thus early deprived of the fostering care of a pious and devoted parent, whose counsels are so important in forming the youthful mind, and in giving a direction to future life.