Caroline Virginia Still was born in Philadelphia, on November 1, 1848, the first of four children to Letitia or Lucy and William Still. Shortly after Caroline’s birth, William led the Philadelphia branch of the Underground Railroad. He was described as second to Harriet Tubman in the Underground Railroad Operation. The education and spiritual development of his children was of great significance to William. Although he was self-educated, he made every attempt to inform his children about the advantages of a good education and to make them aware of the privilege they could enjoy by having access to schooling. William ran a stove store and held a lucrative coal industry position allowing him to afford a good education for his children. William encouraged his children to pursue their education seriously.
As a child, Caroline attended Mrs. Henry Gordon’s Private School, called The Friends’ Raspberry Alley School, and Institute for Coloured Youth (now Cheney State College). At the age sixteen, Caroline moved to Oberlin, Ohio and attended Oberlin College where she was the only black student in her class. She graduated and earned her degree from Oberlin College’s Literary Course in 1868, at the age 19, the youngest student in her graduating class. Caroline was elected the first black president of the Ladies’ Literary Society of Oberlin.
Caroline moved back to Philadelphia, and on December 28, 1869 at the age 21 Caroline married a former Alabama slave, a man she met while attending school in Oberlin, Edward A. Wiley. Together they had two children Letitia and William Wiley.
After five years of marriage Caroline’s husband passed away in 1875. two years after Wiley’s death Caroline decided to become a medical doctor. In 1875, Caroline enrolled at the Howard University College of Medicine for one term. She transferred to the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1876, where she earned her “Doctor of Medicine degree” in the spring of 1878. while in school, she worked as a drawing and speech teacher to pay her way.
After graduating Dr. Wiley sent in a application of internship at Boston’s New England Hospital for Women and Children. Her initial application was rejected because of her race, she was appointed only after visiting the city and meeting with the board in person; awed by her talent and knowledge, they threw out their earlier decision, and appointed Dr. Wiley to the internship by a unanimous vote. In 1879, after her internship ended Dr. Wiley moved back to Philadelphia, she became one of the state’s first black female doctor. William got to see all his hard work not go to waste.
In 1880 Dr. Wiley remarried to a Doctor of Divinity, founder of Philadelphia’s Berean Presbyterian Church and minister Matthew Anderson. Together the couple had five children, three survived adulthood, Helen, Maude, and Margaret Anderson. After remarrying Dr. Caroline Anderson opened a dispensary in her husband’s church as well as founding a private medical practice. By 1889, Dr. Anderson had revived her career as an educator, teaching hygiene, physiology, and public speaking, while continuing her medical practice. That same year, Dr. Anderson and her husband founded a vocational and liberal arts school called the Berean Manual Training and Industrial School. Dr. Anderson became the assistant principal of the school. She also practice medicine at Quaker Institution of Philadelphia.
Dr. Anderson career came to an end when she suffered a paralytic stroke in 1914. Five years later Dr. Anderson passed away at her home on June 1 or 2, 1919 in Philadelphia, from complication from the stroke she had years earlier, she was 71 years old.