Crater on Venus Named After Woman Buried in Poughkeepsie
A woman who died at the age of 21 may be one of the most important people you've never heard about who's buried right here in the Hudson Valley.
March is Women's History Month, a good time to learn about someone who is buried at the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery who, according to Wikipedia, was the first Indian female to ever step foot in America and to ever become a doctor.
Anandi Gopal Joshi was born in India in 1865. In accordance with cultural tradition, at the age of nine she was married to a man who was 20 years older than she was. At 14 Joshi became pregnant, but sadly lost the child after just 10 days because there wasn't any adequate medical care available for her in India.
The loss of her baby inspired Joshi to pursue a medical degree in America. The young woman wrote letters to missionaries and other organizations in hopes of getting an opportunity to study medicine in the West. She did get offers, but under the condition that she convert to Christianity. This was unacceptable to Joshi, who wanted to return to India and help other Hindus so they didn't have to suffer from the same lack of medical care that she did during her pregnancy.
A woman in Roselle, NJ named Theodicia Carpenter heard of Joshi's situation and invited her to come to America and stay with her. Joshi was enrolled in the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania and graduated as an MD in 1886. She returned to India soon after and was heralded as a hero by the country. The story of the Indian girl who's own tragedy inspired her to become a doctor reached all corners of the globe, inspiring women from different cultures to pursue an education regardless of the hurdles they might face.
A year later, Joshi died to to complications from tuberculosis. According to an article from The Quint, the young doctor tragically never got a chance to practice medicine back in India. After her death, Joshi's ashes were sent back to America and Theodicia Carpenter laid them to rest in their family plot, which is located at the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery in section A.
Anandi Gopal Joshi's inspiration is the reason scientists have named a crater on the planet of Venus after her. And now you know the fascinating story of a woman that you probably never realized was buried right here in Poughkeepsie.