Walker, Mary Edwards, 1832–1919, American surgeon and feminist, b. Oswego, N.Y., grad. Syracuse Medical College, 1855. At the beginning of the Civil War she offered her services to the Union army. For the first three years she served as a nurse, but in 1864 she was commissioned assistant surgeon, the first woman to have such a commission, and was awarded a medal for her service. She adopted male attire, which she wore to the end of her life, and was active in the struggle for woman suffrage and other reforms. Her book of essays, Hit (1871), presents the essence of her ideas on womens rights.
See biography by C. M. Snyder (1962).