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November 11

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
This document has been taken from emailed versions
of Women of Achievement. The complete episode
will be published here in the future.

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker

Abigail Adams


QUOTE by Abigail Adams.

Event: 11-11-1865: legend or fact?

      Did President Andrew Johnson present Dr. Mary Edwards Walker the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor at the personal recommendation of General Sherman for her heroism in treating wounded in hospitals and on the battle fields.
      What is known is that she did treat the wounded and that she was taken prisoner for several months by the Confederates. However, she had angered many officers because she insisted on wearing an Army uniform even though she had been refused an Army commission, but was allowed to served as a volunteer doctor along with commissioned officer men.
      She had been married in trousers and refused to take the vows of honor and obey or her husband's name. After the war she continued her ways by wearing trousers and speaking out about suffrage and dress reform and found it more and more difficult to make a living and she became more and more eccentric.
      She eventually became a sideshow attraction with her Medal of Honor.
      On June 3, 1917 an Army review board revoked the medal saying she had not warranted it - records were missing or waylaid - and the claims were that there was no existing proof that she actually was awarded it and that the tales were just tales.
      She refused to give it up.
      She died several years later. (1917 was at the height of agitation by women for the vote.)
      On June 10, 1977, the medal was formally restored by an act of the U.S. Congress. Because of the strong anti-woman feelings regarding Dr. Walker, the truth may never been known although it is definite that she did serve, served in trousers, and irked the male doctors and officers.

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Remember this Lady

      Born Nov. 11, 1744, Abigail Smith Adams, wife of the second President of the U.S. and mother of the sixth, won celebrity as a gifted letter-writer. She managed the farm and business matters, while her husband spent much of his time away during and after the Revolutionary War, and she made him a wealthy man. John often extolled his wife's wisdom and claimed she would make an ideal politician. The following well-known exchange of letters occurred while he was in Philadelphia with the Continental Congress in 1776: Abigail wrote:
"By the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power in the hands of husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation."
      John Adams, the future President of the United States and signer of the Declaration of Independence which declared all men are created equal, was not pleased by his wife's letter. He answered:
"As to your extraordinary code of laws, I cannot but laugh!
      "We have been told that our struggle has loosened the bonds of government everywhere - children and apprentices... schools and colleges... Indians and Negroes grow insolent. But your letter was the first intimation that another tribe more numerous and powerful than all the rest, were grown discontented... Depend on it, we know better than to repeal our masculine systems. Although they are in full force, you know they are little more than theory. We are obliged to go fair and softly, and you know in practice we are the subjects. We have only the name of masters, and rather than give up this which would completely subject us to the despotism of the petticoat, I hope General Washington and all our brave heroes would fight!"
      What has been pointed out is that Abigail wrote with an inclusive "ladies" and "we" which indicates that there was a definite, active feminist movement at the time which has been overlooked by HIStorians... and some of the states had accepted women voting without until AFTER the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.
      The study of HERSTORY puts a different light on our foreFATHER's "justice for all" and the defects in HIStory coverage.

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B. 11-11-1846, Ann Katharine Green, her The Levenworth Case (1878) is considered the first detective story written by a woman and is considered the developer of the scientific detective novel. Her Ebenezer Gryce's scientific and deductive reasoning investigator predates Sherlock Holmes. Although her writing was of the age, her plotting and adherence to factual legal maneuvering is admirable today.

Event 11-11-1922: the Women's Overseas Service League published the names of 162 women known to have been killed in military service during World War I. [See WiiN's Military Women]

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      "...we are determined to foment a rebellion..." [See above]

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