Dr. Mary Walker
American Surgeon, Pioneer in Feminine Dress Reform and Woman Suffrage
1832 – 1919 A.D.
Dr. Mary Walker, an American surgeon, and pioneer in feminine dress reform, and woman suffrage; born in Oswego, NY. She was a graduate doctor with the degree of M.D. at the age of twenty-three.
Her war career began at the age of twenty-nine when she volunteered her services, and entered the Union army as an assistant surgeon with the rank of First Lieutenant. She dressed like her brother officers, having a gold stripe running down the trouser legs, wearing a felt hat with gold cord, and an officer’s overcoat. Her jacket was cut like a blouse, and fitted loosely at the neck. By special authorization from Congress Dr. Walker adopted male attire during the Civil War, and for the half century since she continued to wear it in civil life – the woman in the country who ever had her rights in this respect prescribed by the national legislators. She wore a black frock coat, trousers and a high silk hat, and carried a cane.
After the war she became celebrated in the United States and England a sa lecturer, and otherwise earned her livelihood by private medical practice, and by writing.
Dr. Walker never married. Her proudest possession was the bronze medal she wore on the bosom of her frock coat. On the back was engraved this legend. “Presented by the Congress of the United States to Mary E. Walker, A.A. Surgeon, U.S. Army.
Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.