Dr. Mary Walker's Pocket Bible
A crusader for women's equality, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker served as a surgeon for the Union army during the Civil War and was captured by the Confederates. She received this pocket Bible while in prison in Richmond, VA. A year after the war, Walker became the only woman ever to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. However, the medal was revoked in 1917 when Congress revised its standards to include only "actual combat with an enemy." Six decades later, the women's movement sparked new interest in Walker's story. In 1974, Smithsonian curators collected this Bible and other objects from Walker's grandniece and supported a campaign to have her Medal of Honor restored. In 1977, Congress reinstated the award.
||Mary Edwards Walker, born November 26, 1832, near Oswego, NY; died February 21, 1919, Oswego, NY
||Web display only
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