Dr. Mary E. Walker

Nov. 26, 1832 – Feb. 21, 1919
Nov. 26, 1832 – Feb. 21, 1919

The only woman to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor

A Brief Chronology of Dr. Mary E. Walker

1832 Mary E. WalkerMary E. Walker was born November 26 at the family farm on Bunker Hill Road, in the Town of Oswego. She had four sisters: Aurora, Luna, Vesta, Cynthia, and one brother, Alvah.
1850-51 Attended Falley Seminar in Fulton, New York.
1851-52 Taught school in Minetto, New York.
1853 Entered Central Medical College, Syracuse, New York.
1855 Graduated from Medical College as the second woman in the United States to become a medical doctor. Elizabeth Blackwell (Geneva, New York) was the first. Also, this year she opened a practice in Columbus, Ohio, which lasted but a few months.
1856 Dr. Mary Walker married Dr. Albert Miller, and they each opened a practice in Rome, New York.
1859 The marriage was in effect terminated when Mary ordered her husband out of the house, charging him with unfaithfulness though it was to take another ten years for the divorce to become final.
1861 Traveled to Washington, D.C. to volunteer her service in the hospitals during the early months of the Civil War.
1864 After taking a wrong turn on the battlefields, Dr. Walker was taken prisoner by the Confederate forces and was taken to a prison in Richmond, Virginia. Four months later she obtained her freedom in a prisoner exchange.
1865 Dr. Walker was the first woman to have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, based on her many acts of bravery and heroism on the battlefield of the Civil War.
1866 Traveled widely throughout England and France — gave many lectures to mostly receptive audiences.
1868 Traveled extensively throughout the United States on lecture tours. She was not as enthusiastically received as she had been in Europe and her lectures were not great money makers.
1871 Her book, HIT, was published. Also, in November she attempted to vote in Oswego Town, but was turned away.
1870s Walker, 1870.Much of the decade was spent lobbying in Washington, D.C. for the suffrage and other causes.
1878 Her second book, UNMASKED: THE SCIENCE OF IMMORALITY, was published
1882 Sought federal employment and was finally awarded a job as clerk in the Pensions Office of the Department of Interior. Friction developed and the job lasted less than two years.
1888-92 Economic circumstances necessitated her lecture assignments at various dime museums throughout the Northeast. These were not much more than carnival sideshows.
1907 CROWNING CONSTITUTIONAL ARGUMENT was published. This was the most comprehense statement of Dr. Mary Walker’s approach to suffrage.
1917 Announced a plan to end World War 1 by inviting the German Emperor to her Bunker Hill farm for negotiations and compromise.
1917 Medal of Honor was revoked but was restored after her death.
1919 Dr. Mary E. Walker died on February 21, at her home in the Town of Oswego. Her final resting spot is Rural Cemetery in the Town of Oswego.
20c Stamp
20c Stamp

A 20¢ stamp honoring Dr. Mary Walker was issued in Oswego, NY on June 10, 1982. The stamp commemorates the first woman to have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and the second woman to graduate from a medical school in the United States.

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Statue
Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Statue