Convention Days Announces Centennial Gala

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dr mary walkerConvention Days will commemorate the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in New York State with a Thanksgiving Dinner Gala entitled “A Fine Agitation” followed by the World Premiere of a One-Woman Play about Dr. Mary Walker, the only woman to receive the Medal of Honor.

The title “A Fine Agitation” comes from a letter from Susan B. Anthony to Elizabeth Cady Stanton after Anthony voted in 1872: “Well I have been & gone and done it!!! . . . We are in for a fine agitation . . .”

The dinner, being served at at the New York Chiropractic College, will be based on a 1916 Thanksgiving menu from The Hoag House, precursor to The Gould Hotel.

The gala will also commemorate the Centennial of the first woman elected to Congress, Jeanette Rankin from Montana. All women currently serving in Congress will be recognized.

Also being recognized is the 50th Anniversary of Another Mother for Peace. Co-Chair Donna Reed was joined by Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman, Dick Van Dyke, Rod Serling and others in testimony before Congress to create a Department of Peace and a Secretary of Peace.

Independence. Mary Walker: The Untold Story of an American Hero is written and directed by Lloyd J. Schwartz and stars Kathie Barnes. Both Mr. Schwartz and Ms. Barnes are flying in from Los Angeles to present the World Premiere in Seneca Falls during Convention Days.

Two of Lloyd J. Schwartz’s previous historical plays have enjoyed great acclaim. In 2004, he received one of the inaugural Red Carpet Awards from Women in Theatre. His extensive career in all media includes working closely with his father, Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of The Brady Bunch. As a network producer at ABC. he supervised four of the top five shows in the country: Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, What’s Happening!! and Three’s Company.

Born in Oswego, New York, Dr. Mary Walker was one of the earliest women in the United States to earn a medical degree. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, she volunteered to work on the battlefields caring for the wounded. Denied a commission as a medical officer because she was a woman, she volunteered anyway and was eventually appointed assistant surgeon. Captured in 1864, she spent four months as a prisoner of war in a Richmond prison. Dr. Walker lectured throughout the United States and abroad on women’s rights, equality, dress reform, health and temperance issues. She rejected corsets and hoop-skirted dresses, preferring to wear men’s trousers, jackets and a top hat.

She was arrested in New York City for impersonating a man. Dr. Mary Walker was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls in 2000.

The Oswego County Historical Society will have an exhibit on Dr. Walker at the Gala.

This event will take place on Friday, July 14 from 5:30 to 9:30 pm at the New York Chiropractic College. Tickets are $60 each. For reservations, call (315) 568- 5838 or stop by The Seneca Falls It’s a Wonderful Life Museum, 32 Fall St., Seneca Falls.

For more information, call (315) 568-5838.

Photo provided.

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