At our October Heather St. Clair will tell us the fascinating story of Mary Ann Bickerdyke, also known as Mother Bickerdyke, whom a hospital administrator for Union soldiers during the American Civil War and a lifelong advocate for veterans. Heather will answer questions like: Could a woman, in the Civil War, build 300 hospitals? Could she see action on 19 battlefields, from Vicksburg to Atlanta, and survive the wrath of Officers and Surgeons? What did she do to be cheered by soldiers, calling her “Mother;” or, to be called Sherman’s greatest General? Why would a woman be given the honor of leading Sherman’s XV Corps in the “Grand Review of Armies,” through Washington, D.C., after the War?
Interested in history for as long as she can remember, Heather St.Clair was inspired to research and teach by one of her high school teachers. She earned a B.A. in Liberal Studies Elementary Education, and taught elementary school grades for three years. Since 2009, Heather has been a founding member of the Academy of Living History Performing Arts, participating in living history events, developing historical programs for public and private schools, and supporting the educational mission of the Armory Band, and the Volunteer Hospital. Heather has traveled to Civil War sites across the country, and plans to make more research trips in the future. Heather has been studying the life of Mary Ann Bickerdyke, Civil War Medicine, and the U.S. Sanitary Commission for 7 years. When asked about her unfailing interest in the history of the 1860’s, she said, “The more I study and learn about the American Civil War, the more I realize that there is to learn about this time and the incredible accomplishments made during this era.”