Mary Edwards Walker Biography
(Surgeon, Feminist, Activist)
Birthday: November 26, 1832 (Sagittarius)
Born In: Oswego
Mary Edwards Walker was an American feminist, an alleged spy, women’s right activist, an abolitionist and a prisoner of war. She is the only woman recipient of the ‘Medal of Honor’, the highest recognition for bravery in the ‘United States Armed Forces’. In an era when womanhood was associated mainly with being a wife and a mother, she married wearing a man’s coat and trouser; retained her name and later got divorced. She often questioned orthodox medical practices including widespread practice of amputation. At a time when sectarian physicians and women were regarded incompetent for ‘Union Army Examining Board’, she volunteered and served as a surgeon during the American Civil War. Mary Walker was mistaken as a spy and captured by Confederate forces and sent to Richmond, Virginia, as a prisoner of war when she tried to attend injured civilians by crossing enemy lines. She was later freed in exchange of a prisoner. At the end of the war she worked actively as an advocate and defendant of the women’s suffrage movement through her writings and lectures. She supported refinement of dress for women and also sported men’s clothes during lectures on rights of women.