Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920

Biography of Dr. Sarah Isabel Shuey, 1851-1921

By Alden Blake, Undergraduate, University of California, Santa Barbara

Dr. Sarah Shuey was born in Adams County, IL on February 24, 1851 to John and Lucinda Shuey. After graduating from the first class in medicine from the University of California in 1876, “Dr. Shuey established herself as the first woman physician in Berkeley” and was highly successful in this endeavor, building a renowned reputation for herself and her practice. Dr. Shuey was also heavily involved in local politics, working with numerous organizations throughout her career, including service on the “Milk Committee” where she advocated for certified sanitary milk. Additionally, she was elected as President of the Oakland Board of Health and she served as the President of the Alameda County Medical Association. On top of her numerous positions of public service and advocacy, she was an active member of the Equal Suffrage League of San Francisco and was quoted saying, “why do I believe in suffrage for women? Because I am a human being as well as a woman, and I believe in true democracy, and wish to get into the company of rational human beings before the law, and not to be classed with the idiots, imbeciles, the insane and criminals—because the city, state, or nation is only a larger family, therefore it is inevitable that women should share in the responsibility for the normal development of the race.” Dr. Shuey died in Oakland, CA on July 21, 1921 at the age of 70 years old.


“Dr Sarah Isabel Shuey (1851-1921) - Find A Grave...” (1851-1921) - Find A Grave Memorial,

California State Journal of Medicine. Vol. 20, California Medical Association, 1922, p. 34.

Kirsch, Gesa, editor. More Than Gold in California: The Life and Work of Dr. Mary Bennett Ritter. Rowman & Littlefield, 2017, p. 62.

Finacom, Steven. “Centennial of Women's Vote in California is 2011: Berkeley Celebrations Planned.” Berkeley Daily Planet, 1 Mar. 2011,

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