When I started working on this collage, I didn't really know who Mary Walker was; I just thought she looked fascinating, and that it was pretty bizarre that someone could be arrested for wearing pants. So I looked her up to see what else I could find out.
Mary Walker's Pants
mixed media collage, 11 x 8.5 inches
ingredients: vintage book cover, vintage book pages and ephemera, cut-outs, child's drawing, lace, image transfer
I also found a page in this history book where someone had made some notes about women's rights, written right underneath the heading, "Manifest Destiny." Since women's rights seem to be in the news quite a bit lately, I thought now might be an appropriate time to share this.
Here are some things I learned about Mary Edwards Walker (November 26, 1832 – February 21, 1919): According to Wikipedia, she "was an American feminist, abolitionist, prohibitionist, alleged spy, prisoner of war, and surgeon. As of 2017, she is the only woman ever to receive the Medal of Honor." Though women were not allowed to serve as doctors, she nonetheless served the Union Army during the Civil War as a surgeon in an army hospital, and was captured by the Confederates when crossing the lines to treat injured civilians, and sent to the prison at Richmond.
After the war, "she became a writer and lecturer, supporting such issues as health care, temperance, women's rights, and dress reform for women. She was frequently arrested for wearing men's clothing, and insisted on her right to wear clothing that she thought appropriate.
Walker was a member of the central woman's suffrage Bureau in Washington... She attempted to register to vote in 1871, but was turned away. The initial stance of the movement, following Walker's lead, was to claim that women already had the right to vote, and Congress needed only to enact enabling legislation." She also wrote books and articles about these issues which concerned her so deeply. (Wikipedia)
Yet the history book only mentioned that she regularly got herself in trouble by wearing pants. What else, I wonder, has been left out of our history books?