Mary Edwards Walker
Mary Edwards Walker
My "I Am..." person is Mary Edwards Walker. I was interested in Mary Edwards Walker because I thought it amazing that a woman could have participated in military duties, to have eventually earned the most highest medal. I did not know anything about her, prior to researching. While researching about her, I was curious about what she had done to make herself stand out among all the other hundreds of female surgeons to eventually be awarded the Medal of Honor. I also wondered who got her first interested in the art of medicine and I also wondered if her advocating for women's rights had any effect.

My primary historical question is "Why was Mary Edwards Walker chosen to be awarded the Medal of Honor?"








Timeline


Mary Edwards Walker by Amy Kim


Primary Sources

Internet

The My Hero Project - Mary Edwards Walker. 28 February 2008

Mary Edwards Walker, Civil War Doctor. 28 February 2008

Mary Edwards Walker. 28 February 2008


Medal of Honor Quote
Citation for the Congressional Medal of Honor:
Whereas it appears from official reports that Dr. Mary E. Walker, a graduate of medicine, "has rendered valuable service to the Government and her efforts have been earnest and untiring in a variety of ways," and that she was assigned to duty and served as an assistant surgeon in charge of female prisoners at Louisville, Ky., upon the recommendation of Major Generals Sherman and Thomas, and faithfully served as contract surgeon in the service of the United States, and has devoted herself with much patriotic zeal to the sick and wounded soldiers, both in the field and hospitals, to the detriment of her own health, and has also endured hardships as a prisoner of war four months in a Southern prison while acting as contract surgeon; and Whereas by reason of her not being a commissioned officer in the military service, a brevet or honorary rank cannot, under existing laws, be conferred upon her; and Whereas in the opinion of the President an honorable recognition of her services and sufferings should be made: It is ordered, That a testimonial thereof shall be hereby made and given to the said Dr. Mary E. Walker, and that the usual medal of honor for meritorious services be given her.
Given under my hand in the city of Washington, D.C., this 11th day of November, A.D. 1865.
Andrew Johnson, President

“Dr. Mary Edwards Walker.” 25 March 2008 Quotes about her
"Upon recommendation of Major Generals William T. Sherman and George H. Thomas, on November 11, 1865, President Andrew Johnson signed a bill to present Dr. Mary Edwards Walker with the Congressional Medal of Honor for Meritorious Service. The citation recognized her:

“valuable service to the Government,” devoting “herself with much patriotic zeal to the sick and wounded soldiers, both in the field and hospitals, to the detriment of her own health,” and enduring “hardships as a prisoner of war.” The citation also stated that “by reason of her not being a commissioned officer in the military service, a brevet or honorary rank cannot, under existing laws, be conferred upon her” so, therefore, “in the opinion of the President an honorable recognition of her services and sufferings should be made.” "

“Mary Edwards Walker.” 15 Mar 2008


"Finally on June 11, 1977, President Carter reinstated Mary’s medal, citing her “distinguished gallantry, self-sacrifice, patriotism, dedication and unflinching loyalty to her country, despite the apparent discrimination because of her sex.” "

“Mary Edwards Walker.” 15 Mar 2008




Quotes
“[U]ntil women have a voice in making [laws], they must of necessity be imperfect, as are all laws, where … woman has had no voice in their making.”
-Hit

She also believed marriage should be a “contract” between “equal” partners, writing:

“No young lady, when she is being courted … for a moment supposes that her lover can … ever wish her to be his slave."
-Hitw