On This Day
1865 – Dr Mary Edwards Walker receives the US Medal of Honor, becoming the first woman to receive the award.
Mary Edwards Walker, M.D. (November 26, 1832 – February 21, 1919), commonly referred to as Dr. Mary Walker, was an American abolitionist, prohibitionist, prisoner of war and surgeon. She is the only woman to ever receive the Medal of Honor.
In 1855, she earned her medical degree at Syracuse Medical College in New York, married and started a medical practice. She volunteered with the Union Army at the outbreak of the American Civil War and served as a surgeon at a temporary hospital in Washington, D.C., even though at the time women and sectarian[clarification needed] physicians were considered unfit for the Union Army Examining Board. She was captured by Confederate forces after crossing enemy lines to treat wounded civilians and arrested as a spy. She was sent as a prisoner of war to Richmond, Virginia until released in a prisoner exchange.
After the war, she was approved for the Medal of Honor, for her efforts to treat the wounded during the Civil War. Notably, the award was not expressly given for gallantry in action at that time, and in fact was the only military decoration during the Civil War. Walker is the only woman to receive the medal and one of only eight civilians to receive it. Her name was deleted from the Army Medal of Honor Roll in 1917 (along with over 900 other, male MOH recipients); however, it was restored in 1977. After the war, she was a writer and lecturer supporting the women’s suffrage movement until her death in 1919.
Born On This Day
1915 – Anna Schwartz, American economist and author (d. 2012)
Anna Jacobson Schwartz (/ʃwɔːrts/; November 11, 1915 – June 21, 2012) was an American economist who worked at the National Bureau of Economic Research in New York City and a writer for the New York Times. Paul Krugman once said that Schwartz is, “one of the world’s greatest monetary scholars.” Schwartz is most notably recognized for her collaborative work with Milton Friedman on A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960, which was published in 1963. This book placed the blame for the Great Depression at the door of the Federal Reserve System. She was also president of the Western Economic Association International in 1988. Schwartz was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013.
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