Post #7: The Life of Mary Read

I am responding to the book The General History of the Pyrates  as it relates to the Life of Mary Read. This was an amazing story of which I never would have thought possible. Mary Read was a Pirate that was able to impersonate a Male for the majority of her life. Her mother was the one to encourage her to dress and act as a man so that Mary’s grandmother would pay them to help take care of the child. Mary did as her mother asked even after her mother’s death. This was to me an incredibly difficult idea to wrap my head around. It is difficult for me to believe that Mary was able to keep from blowing her cover for so long. Especially incredible, Mary served as an officer in the military and had to share a tent with a man whom she fell in love with and later married. She lived as a woman working in house-keeping until her husband died. Mary returned to disguising herself as a man once again. She resorted to life as a Pirate which was a life she hated until she fell in love and married again. An unofficial marriage took place and she became pregnant. Mary stood on trial for her crimes and was able to avoid being killed due to her pregnancy. Unfortunately, she died in prison from disease.  I found it extraordinary that at this time a woman would be able to switch genders back and forth. This concept of Mary Read’s cross dressing seems to me so far ahead of her time.

Johnson, Captain Charles. “The Life of Mary Read.” The General History of the Pyrates. 2nd

ed. London: T-Warner, 1724. N. pag. East Carolina University Digital Collections. Web. 24 Feb.



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