Barry, James Miranda Stuart

James Miranda Stuart Barry, army physician and surgeon (b c1795 in England; d 1865 at London, Eng). Dr James Barry was a woman who disguised herself as a man so that she could study medicine and be a doctor. Her real surname was probably Bulkeley. Brought up in Britain, she first posed as a male in 1809 so that she could get into Edinburgh University. This was long before universities accepted women students. After graduating in medicine, Barry joined the British Army. Serving in South Africa, the Caribbean, and other parts of the world, she gained a reputation as an outstanding surgeon.

In 1857 Barry was posted to Canada as inspector general of military hospitals, the army's senior doctor in Canada. She was still thought to be a man, though a very odd one. Small and slim, and with no hair on her face, she was simply considered eccentric. She liked to drive around Montréal in a bright red sleigh, accompanied by a small white dog and a manservant. Nevertheless, the troops appreciated her. She insisted on better food for the soldiers, and she made the hospitals cleaner and more comfortable. She had to return to England in 1859 because she fell sick (though, as usual, she refused to be examined).

Barry's long-kept secret was discovered when she died and was laid out for burial.