Woman of the Century/Mary E. Walker
WALKER, Miss Mary E., physician, and surgeon, lecturer and dress-reformer, was born in Oswego, N. Y. She belongs to a family of marked mental traits, and was, as a child, distinguished for her strength of mind and her decision of character. She received a miscellaneous education and grew up an independent young woman. She attended medical colleges in Syracuse, N. Y., and New York City. She always had an inclination to be useful in the world. When the Civil War broke out, she left her practice, went to the front and served the Union army in a way that, in any other country, would have caused her to be recognized as a heroine of the nation. Of all the women who participated in the scenes of the war. Dr. Walker was certainly among the most conspicuous for bravery and for self-forgetfulness. MARY E. WALKER.She often spent her own money. She often went where shot and shell were flying to aid the wounded soldiers. While engaged on the battlefields of the South, she continued to wear the American reform costume, as she had done many years previous to the war, but eventually dressed in full male attire, discarding all the uncomfortable articles of female apparel. Her bravery and services in the field were rewarded by a medal of honor, and she draws a pension from the government of only $8.50 a month, a half pension of her rank, in spite of the fact that she really deserves the highest recognition of the government and the public for her patriotic and self-sacrificing services in the army. Her career has been an eventful one, and she has been a pioneer woman in many fields. She is the only woman in the world who was an assistant army surgeon. She was the first woman officer ever exchanged as a prisoner of war for a man of her rank. She is the only woman who has received the Medal of Honor from Congress and a testimonial from the President of the United States. She has been prominent and active in the woman suffrage and other reform movements. She was among the first women who attempted to vote and did vote, who went to Congress in behalf of woman suffrage, and who made franchise speeches in Washington, D. C. She is the author of a constitutional argument on the right of women to vote. In Washington, D. C., when the patent office was converted into a hospital, she served as assistant surgeon and worked without pay. In 1864 she was in the service as a regular A. A. surgeon. Many stories are told by generals, other officers and soldiers of her bravery under fire. In 1866 and 1867 she was in Europe, and directed and influenced ten-thousand women to vote in the fall of 1869. Because of her determination to wear male attire, I>r. Walker has been made the subject of abuse and ridicule by persons of narrow minds. The fact that she persists in wearing the attire in which she did a man's service in the army blinds the thoughtless to her great achievements and to her right to justice from our government No whisper against her character as a woman and a professional has ever been heard. During the past three years she has suffered severely from an injury caused by slipping and falling which has left her lame for the remainder of her life. She is now living on the old homestead, in Oswego county, N. Y.