In celebration of Women’s History Month, West Virginia University at Parkersburg will host Debra Conner as she presents a historical portrayal of Dr. Mary Edwards Walker (1832-1919).
The event takes place at the following locations:
Main campus, Monday, March 18 at 11 a.m. in the college theatre, room 1305
Jackson County Center, Tuesday, March 19 at 11 a.m. in the student lounge
Debra Conner began portraying Emily Dickinson in 1997, thanks to a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Since then, she has added character portrayals of Zelda Fitzgerald, Margaret Mitchell, Margaret Blennerhassett, Rebecca Harding Davis and Dr. Mary Edwards Walker to her program offerings. “It’s my best chance to be a famous writer,” Conner has said.
During the Civil War, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker served as an assistant surgeon in the Union Army, becoming the only woman to do so. In 1865, President Andrew Johnson awarded her the Congressional Medal of Honor for her devotion to tending sick and wounded soldiers. She remains the only woman to receive that honor. Walker also drew attention for her unconventional attire. An advocate of dress reform, she wore men’s trousers, a frock coat and a top hat. Throughout her life, she campaigned for women’s rights.
An experienced performer, Conner has taken her portrayals all over the country to such places and events as the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Forbes Gallery in New York City and at the Lewis and Clark Commemorative Celebration in Charlottesville, Va. In 2009, she portrayed Margaret Mitchell at the Margaret Mitchell/Gone with the Wind Museum in Atlanta.
This presentation is co-sponsored by WVU Parkersburg’s Social Justice Committee, the Social Sciences and Languages division, and the WVU Parkersburg Humanities Speakers Series.