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Ella P. Stewart

Ella P. Stewart, circa 1920

Ella Nora Phillips Stewart (March 6, 1893 – November 27, 1987) was one of the first African-American female pharmacists in the United States.[1]

Early life

Born in Berryville, Virginia, Stewart was an ambitious child and in the classroom throughout her years in school. She loved music. At the age of twelve, Stewart began attending high school and had the dreams of being an educator. However, she didn’t finish her training as a teacher because she was married and started a family. She liked to read and talk to boys too. After the death of her child, Stewart began working in a local pharmacy.[1]

Working in the pharmacy sparked an interest in being a pharmacist for Stewart. She desegregated the University of Pittsburgh by being the first black student admitted in 1914. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1916 with her Ph.D. In the same year, Stewart passed the state examination becoming the first African American female pharmacist in the state of Pennsylvania and one of the first African American female pharmacists in the country.[1]


Upon graduing and passing the state exam, she worked throughout the state of Pennsylvania. She initially worked at the General Hospital in Braddock, Pennsylvania, but was later able to open several of her own pharmacies. Her pharmacies were left under the management of peers from the University of Pittsburgh.[1]

In 1920, Stewart was remarried, to a fellow pharmacist, and moved to Youngstown, Ohio. There, she was hired as a pharmacist at St. Elizabeth's Hospital. After some time, Stewart resigned from the position and moved with her husband to Detroit. Their life in Detroit was short-lived. Ella Stewart and her husband moved to Toledo, Ohio, to open a pharmacy. Stewart became one of the first black professionals in the Northwestern Ohio area and the first African-American pharmacist in the region.[1] She remained in Toledo until her death in 1987.


Ella Nora Phillips Stewart not only known for becoming one of the first African American female pharmacists, but also for her struggles against discrimination and her impact in the community. Stewart was involved in many community organizations, including the Enterprise Charity Club, the Ohio Association of Colored Women, the National Association of Colored Women. Her involvement in these organizations and the obstacles that she has overcome has led to many awards in the Northwest Ohio area and at the University of Pittsburgh that bear her name.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Ella P. Stewart Award". University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 2007-11-10.