Dr Elizabeth Van Rensselaer “Bessie” Gillette


Dr Elizabeth Van Rensselaer “Bessie” Gillette

Death 26 Jun 1965 (aged 90)
Burial Granby, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Plot Section A / Lot 381
Memorial ID 64230427 View Source
Suggest Edits

Daughter of Albert and Mary Pinney (Jewett) GILLETTE.

Elizabeth used the name Dr. Elizabeth Van Rensselar GILLETTE.

Elizabeth GILLETTE is the name that is on her gravestone.

Dr. Elizabeth Van Rensselaer GILLETTE born 1874, Granby, Connecticut. Dr. GILLETTE died in her home 254 Union Street. She retired in 1959 at the age of 85. Dr. GILLETTE is considered to be one of the pioneer woman surgeons in Schenectady county.

Elizabeth studied medicine the New York Medical College and Hospital for women and received her medical license 1899. She opened her practice in 1900, retiring after a six decade period in 1959. She was often photographed in her car (purchased in 1904) visiting her patients. She was a surgeon at Mercy Hospital.

Political Career

She had a short political career, she ran 1919 for New York State Assembly (Democrat) and won. She became the first woman in upstate New York elected to the State Legislature. Her focus was on healthcare-regulation of drugs and mandating physicals for children that worked in factories. Women at the time did not have voting rights, therefore she could only write laws , not vote for them.

GILLETTE was defeated in the next election by William W. Campbell and went back to practicing medicine full time at her home at 254 Union Street.

Dr. GILLETTE spent her final years working on her favorite causes that included the Schenectady Humane Society, the Schenectady County Historical Society, and the DAR. She died at her home on June 26th, 1965.

Elizabeth Van Rensalear GILLETTE was never married. Her mother (Mary Pinney Jewett) and (Angie Jewett Lee) were sisters. Her middle name, Van Rensalear, is after her mother's uncle, Van Rensalear Pinney, who died at the beginning of the Civil War.

Family Members



In their memory
Plant Memorial Trees

Sponsored by Ancestry