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Woman in a Man’s World: Mary Read

Roger Bussey

Mary Read Mary Read

Mary Read was born in London, England in the late seventeenth century to the wife of a sea captain. Some historical documents claim that Mary Read was disguised as a boy so that her father would believe that she was his son, whom had died while Mary’s father was at sea, asserting that Mary Read was supposedly the by-product of an illicit affair that her mother had engaged in with an unknown man. Other documents state that Mary’s mother was a widow, and simply wished for her daughter to have all of the advantages offered to a man. Either way, history agrees that Mary Read lived her entire childhood as a boy.

Mary Read’s mothers’ deception apparently paid off, for after the death of her husband she was able to secure his company and holdings as an inheritance for his “son”, Mary. The little family was able to…

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