Mary Walker was born in Oswego, New York. Since childhood, she worked on her parents’ farm. Mary received a primary education at a local school and later entered the College of Medicine, which she graduated in 1855, being the only woman in the class. She married a former classmate Albert Miller, with whom she started a joint medical practice. But, unfortunately, the work was not very flourishing, as at the time women doctors were not taken seriously.
At the beginning of the Civil War, Mary went to the front as a volunteer. At first, she was only allowed to work as a nurse, there were no women surgeons in the army. In 1863, she began working as a surgeon, which was the first time in the history of the US Army.
Later, Walker entered the 52nd Ohio Infantry. During the service she repeatedly crossed the enemy’s border, providing medical assistance to civilians. In 1884, Walker was caught and arrested by forces of the South as a spy. She was sent to Richmond, Virginia and released during the exchange of prisoners. Some believe that Mary deliberately surrendered to be able to obtain information for the Northern army.
After the war, Walker began to write papers on the medical theme and gave lectures about health, dangers of alcohol, women’s rights, and the reform of clothing. She wrote two books about women’s rights and clothes. The idea of dress reform was that, while women have begun to play a much more active role in society, and long heavy skirts and tight corsets were not only injurious to health, but also restricted the movements.
After 1870, Mary began to wear a man’s suit. Because of this she was repeatedly arrested and charged with accusations that she was trying to pretend to be a man. As a result, she still managed to get the special permission from Congress to wear a man’s suit. For several years, Walker has collaborated with other supporters of women’s suffrage. She proposed the idea that women can have the right to vote and wanted to secure this right legislatively. After several years of fruitless work, movement took another course. Mary continued to publish books and give lectures, but was outside of the movement.
But after a year of her death, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was adopted, guarantying the right for women to vote.
Despite persistent obstacles that arose in her career, as a doctor and as a politician, Dr. Mary Walker was proud of her achievements. In 1897, she concluded that she was a new type of a woman.
Mary Walker was born in Oswego, New York. Since childhood, she worked on her parents’ farm. Mary received a primary education at a local school and later entered the College of Medicine, which she graduated in 1855, being the only woman in the class. She married a former classmate Albert Miller, with whom she started a joint medical practice.