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Title: Clara Barton National Historic Site, Maryland - Handbook 110
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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                      Handbook 110    Clara Barton

                  Clara Barton National Historic Site

                        Division of Publications
                         National Park Service

                    U.S. Department of the Interior
                         Washington, D.C. 1981

                   The National Park Handbook Series

National Park Handbooks, compact introductions to the great natural and
historic places administered by the National Park Service, are designed
to promote understanding and enjoyment of the parks. Each is intended to
be informative reading and a useful guide before, during, and after a
park visit. More than 100 titles are in print. This is Handbook 110. You
may purchase the handbooks through the mail by writing to the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402.

                            About This Book

Clara Barton National Historic Site in Glen Echo, Maryland, a suburb of
Washington, D.C., memorializes the life of Clara Barton, the founder of
the American Red Cross. Part 1 of this book is a chronology of Clara
Barton and her times. Part 2 is a biographical essay. Part 3 is a guide
to the park itself and to National Park Service and other public and
private areas associated with her career.

           Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

United States, National Park Service. Clara Barton, Clara Barton
National Historic Site, Maryland. (National park handbook; 110) Includes

    Clara Barton and her times—Pryor, E.B.
    The professional angel
    Guide and adviser.
  1. Barton, Clara Harlowe, 1821-1912.
  2. Clara Barton National Historic Site, Md.
    I. Title.
    II. Series: United States. National Park Service. Handbook-National
              Park Service: 110
    HV569.B3U65 1981 361.7′63[B] 80-607838


  Part 1 Clara Barton and Her Times                                     4
      A Look to the Past                                                6
      A Chronology                                                      8

  Part 2 The Professional Angel                                        14
      _by Elizabeth Brown Pryor_
      Square as a Brick                                                16
      Doing Something Decided                                          22
      Battling for Ratification                                        35
      Barton and the Red Cross in Action                               46
      Storm and Controversy                                            56

  Part 3 Guide and Adviser                                             66
      Clara Barton National Historic Site: A Saga of Preservation      68
      National Park Service Sites Associated with Clara Barton         72
      National Park Service Sites Commemorating American Women         75
      Related Sites                                                    76
      Armchair Explorations: Some Books You May Want to Read           78
      Index                                                            79

                       Clara Barton and Her Times

    [Illustration: _The figures are, from left to right: Grand Duchess
    Louise of Baden, Antoinette Margot, George Kennan, Julian Hubbell,
    Clara Barton, and Jean-Henri Dunant._]

                           A Look at the Past

Clara Barton, humanitarian and founder of the American Red Cross, spent
the last 15 years of her life in a house in Glen Echo, Maryland, now
known as Clara Barton National Historic Site. Here her contributions to
American life and her personal achievements are memorialized. Here you
can see many of her personal effects and some of the awards given to
her. Here, too, you can learn of the substance of her life and see how
she lived and worked.

From Glen Echo, you can go on to several other National Park System
sites associated with Clara Barton: Antietam, Andersonville, Manassas,
Fredericksburg, and Johnstown. Together these diverse sites document her
life, her work, and her legacy. Begin here at her house and fill in
details of her life as you come across them at the other sites. For
example, the lumber you see in the building at Glen Echo was originally
used as temporary housing for victims of the Johnstown, Pennsylvania,
flood in 1889. After Clara Barton and the Red Cross finished helping the
injured and the homeless in that city, the structure was dismantled and
shipped to Washington, D.C. Two years later, the materials were used at
Glen Echo to construct a national headquarters for the American Red

The new building had essentially the same lines as the Johnstown
structure with various alterations to accommodate the needs of the
American Red Cross and Clara Barton herself.

Initially she planned to use this building as a warehouse for American
Red Cross supplies. Six years after its construction, the building was
remodeled and used not only as a warehouse, but also as the headquarters
of the new organization and as the residence for her and her staff. The
structure served all purposes well. Clara Barton did not distinguish
between herself and the organization she founded. The lines were
blurred; she was the Red Cross, and the Red Cross was Clara Barton. That
is evident here in the house, for she did not separate living space from
working space. The building’s purposes merged in its principal resident.

Using the place as a home, Clara Barton learned to love the passage of
the seasons, to enjoy the way the light came in at different times of
the year, to plant the yard and garden the way she wanted. As a
headquarters and warehouse for the Red Cross, the building served her
well, too. She met there with many dignitaries and volunteers on Red
Cross business and stored supplies for potential disasters. Her home and
office testify to her complete and unequivocal devotion to the Red

Less sharply focused is Clara Barton’s role in women’s rights. Miss
Barton was neither a traditional woman nor a radical feminist, although
Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Austin were friends. She did not repudiate
the traditional roles for women. Instead she succeeded in enlarging that
accepted sphere so that the traditional skills of women—teaching
children, nursing the sick—became acceptable in the public sphere. Clara
Barton argued for women’s equality and believed in their right to vote.
But concern for her fledgling organization overrode her dedication to
women’s rights and all other causes.

At her home and office in Glen Echo you can begin to sense this complex,
fascinating individual: the public and private person so inextricably
intertwined. You sense the space in which Clara Barton moved, worked,
and thought. Impressions coalesce into an image. And yet that image
cannot become distinct without understanding her many ideas, desires,
and efforts noted in her diaries, letters, and papers. This handbook
tells the story of her eventful 90 years. The next few pages contain a
brief chronology of her life and times. Part 2 provides a full-length
biographical essay by historian Elizabeth Brown Pryor. Barton in both
triumph and defeat is here for the reader to accept, reject, or wonder
at. Many of her own words are here to explain more fully what she was
thinking—and worrying—about. The biography amplifies the chronology,
making it come alive with the whims and inconsistencies of human nature.
It’s a book within a book. And Part 3 is a guide to sites, managed by
the National Park Service and other public and private organizations,
associated with Clara Barton and her career.

Together the three parts of this handbook provide a clear image of one
of the most outstanding women of the 19th century, Clara Barton.

                              A Chronology

      1821  Clara Barton is born December 25 in North Oxford,
      1825  John Quincy Adams becomes President; Erie Canal opens
      1829  Andrew Jackson becomes President
      1830  U.S. population is 12,866,020; Peter Cooper builds first
            U.S. locomotive
      1832  Clara Barton nurses brother David back to health; Louisa
            May Alcott is born

    [Illustration: _Louisa May Alcott_]

      1834  Cyrus McCormick patents reaper
      1835  Sarah and Angelina Grimké become active abolitionists;
            Samuel Colt patents revolver

    [Illustration: _Sarah Grimké_]

    [Illustration: _Angelina Grimké_]

      1837  Martin Van Buren becomes President
      1839  Clara Barton begins teaching school in North Oxford and
            continues teaching for the next 11 years; Mount Holyoke,
            first college for women, opens

    [Illustration: _Clara Barton as a schoolteacher_]

      1841  William Henry Harrison becomes President, dies April 4 and
            is succeeded by John Tyler
      1842  Use of anesthetics begins in U.S.
      1844  First telegraphic message sent by S.F.B. Morse
      1845  James K. Polk becomes President; Margaret Fuller publishes
            _Woman in the Nineteenth Century_; Frederick Douglass
            publishes _Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an
            American Slave_
      1846  Mexican War begins, ends in 1848
      1847  American Medical Association is founded
      1848  First Women’s Rights Convention is held in Seneca Falls,
            New York
      1849  Zachary Taylor becomes President, dies July 9, 1850, and is
            succeeded by Millard Fillmore; Elizabeth Blackwell becomes
            first woman to receive M.D. degree
      1850  Clara Barton plans to enter Clinton Liberal Institute,
            Clinton, New York; Harriet Tubman begins helping slaves
            escape via Underground Railway

    [Illustration: _Harriet Tubman_]

      1851  Clara Barton’s mother dies
      1852  Clara Barton starts free school at Bordentown, New Jersey;
            Harriet Beecher Stowe’s _Uncle Tom’s Cabin_ is published

    [Illustration: _Harriet Beecher Stowe_]

      1853  Franklin Pierce becomes President; Singer sewing machine
            factory opens
      1854  Clara Barton moves to Washington, D.C., and becomes clerk
            in Patent Office—at that time the _only_ female employed by
            U.S. Government
      1857  Battle of Solferino is fought June 24; James Buchanan
            becomes President
      1859  Edwin Drake drills first oil well
      1860  U.S. population is 31,443,321 (includes 3,953,760 slaves
            and 448,800 free blacks)
      1861  Clara Barton begins aid to Union soldiers; Abraham Lincoln
            becomes President, is assassinated April 15, 1865, and is
            succeeded by Andrew Johnson; American Civil War begins with
            firing on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, and ends 1865 at
            Appomattox Court House, Virginia

    [Illustration: _Union soldiers near Falmouth, Virginia_]

    [Illustration: _Abraham Lincoln_]

      1862  Clara Barton’s father dies; _Un Souvenir de Solferino_ is
            published by Jean-Henri Dunant
      1864  Clara Barton becomes supervisor of nurses for the Army of
            the James; Treaty of Geneva is signed, thereby establishing
            the International Red Cross
      1865  Clara Barton works at Andersonville, Georgia, to establish
            national cemetery
      1867  U.S. purchases Alaska; first practical typewriter is
            developed by Christopher Sholes
      1868  Andrew Johnson is acquitted in impeachment proceedings;
            Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton begin
            publication of _The Revolution_

    [Illustration: _Susan B. Anthony_]

    [Illustration: _Elizabeth Cady Stanton_]

      1869  Clara Barton begins travels in Europe that last until 1873,
            and meets Dr. Louis Appia of the International Committee of
            the Red Cross; U.S. Secretary of State Hamilton Fish
            rejects Treaty of Geneva; Ulysses S. Grant becomes
            President; first state board of health is established in
      1870  Clara Barton works with Red Cross during Franco-Prussian
            War, which lasts until 1871

    [Illustration: _Grand Duchess Louise of Baden_]

      1872  Victoria Woodhull becomes first woman to run for U.S.
      1873  First school of nursing is established at Bellevue Hospital
            in New York City
      1874  Clara Barton meets Julian Hubbell in Dansville, New York;
            Frances Willard founds Women’s Christian Temperance Union;
            electric streetcars begin running in New York City

    [Illustration: _Julian Hubbell_]

      1876  Clara Barton collaborates with Susan B. Anthony on
            biographies of noted women; Alexander Graham Bell invents
      1877  Clara Barton begins correspondence with Louis Appia with
            goal of having U.S. ratify Treaty of Geneva; Rutherford B.
            Hayes becomes President

    [Illustration: _Rutherford B. Hayes_]

      1879  Edison invents incandescent light bulb

    [Illustration: _Drawing from Thomas Edison’s notebook, September

      1881  Clara Barton founds American Association of the Red Cross,
            is elected president, establishes first local chapter of
            the America Red Cross at Dansville, New York, and aids
            victims of Michigan forest fires; James A. Garfield becomes
            President, is shot July 2, and is succeeded by Chester

    [Illustration: _James A. Garfield_]

    [Illustration: _Chester Arthur_]

      1882  Clara Barton helps victims of Ohio and Mississippi river
            floods; U.S. Senate ratifies Treaty of Geneva, March 16,
            and ratification is proclaimed July 26

    [Illustration: _Steamboats left high and dry by floodwaters_]

      1883  Clara Barton serves for a short period as superintendent of
            Women’s Reformatory Prison in Sherborn, Massachusetts, and
            aids victims of tornadoes in Louisiana and Alabama
      1884  Clara Barton assists survivors of Ohio and Mississippi
            river floods; International Red Cross adopts “American
            Amendment;” study of tuberculosis begins in earnest
      1885  Ottmar Mergenthaler invents linotype machine; Grover
            Cleveland becomes President
      1886  Clara Barton sends relief to Charleston, South Carolina,
            after earthquake
      1888  Clara Barton organizes care of Jacksonville, Florida,
            yellow fever victims; George Eastman perfects hand camera
      1889  Clara Barton works at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, flood scene;
            Benjamin Harrison becomes President; Jane Addams opens Hull
            House in Chicago; Mayo brothers open clinic in Rochester,

    [Illustration: _Jane Addams_]

      1890  U.S. population stands at 62,947,714
      1891  Clara Barton builds house at Glen Echo, Maryland

    [Illustration: _The house at Glen Echo_]

      1892  Clara Barton organizes relief for victims of drought and
            famine in Russia
      1893  Clara Barton sends relief to victims of Sea Island
            hurricane; Grover Cleveland becomes President; Lillian Wald
            establishes Henry Street Settlement House in New York City

    [Illustration: _Lillian Wald_]

      1895  Röntgen discovers X-rays
      1897  Clara Barton moves to Glen Echo; William McKinley becomes
            President, is shot September 6, 1901, dies September 14,
            and is succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt
      1898  Clara Barton takes the Red Cross to the front lines during
            Spanish-American War, which lasts from April 11 to August
            13, and publishes _The Red Cross in Peace and War_

    [Illustration: _Red Cross ambulance used during the Spanish-American

      1900  Clara Barton organizes relief for Galveston, Texas, after
            hurricane and tidal wave, and receives growing criticism
            for way she is managing the Red Cross; Federal charter
            granted to the American National Red Cross; Walter Reed
            discovers that mosquitoes transmit yellow fever
      1901  Jean-Henri Dunant shares, with Frederic Passy, the first
            Nobel Peace Prize; Marconi transmits first radio signal
            across the Atlantic
      1902  Arthur Little patents rayon
      1903  Wright brothers fly their first airplane

    [Illustration: _The first flight_]

      1904  Clara Barton resigns as president of the American National
            Red Cross; Mabel Boardman takes control until 1946

    [Illustration: _Mabel Boardman_]

      1905  Clara Barton forms the National First Aid Society
      1907  Clara Barton publishes _The Story of My Childhood_

    [Illustration: _At her desk in Glen Echo_]

      1909  William Howard Taft becomes President
      1912  Clara Barton dies April 12 at Glen Echo at age 90
      1915  President Woodrow Wilson lays cornerstone for American
            National Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C.
      1963  Friends of Clara Barton, Inc., purchases house at Glen Echo
      1974  The U.S. Congress establishes on October 26 Clara Barton
            National Historic Site
      1975  National Park Service assumes responsibility for Clara
            Barton National Historic Site

                         The Professional Angel

    [Illustration: _Clara Barton and Red Cross workers in Tampa,
    Florida, await transportation to return to Cuba in 1898._]

                           Square as a Brick

As a woman of 87, Clara Barton remembered “nothing but fear” when she
looked back to her childhood. She portrayed herself as an introspective,
insecure child, too timid to express her thoughts to others. Yet this
girl who felt terror in all new situations possessed the qualities that
enabled her to overcome that fear, indeed to become the woman most
universally acclaimed as courageous in American history.

Her childhood was unusual. She was born on December 25, 1821, in North
Oxford, Massachusetts, and named Clarissa Harlowe Barton after an aunt,
who in turn had been named for a popular novel of her day. Her parents,
Capt. Stephen Barton and Sarah Stone Barton, had four other children,
all at least 10 years of age by the time this child was born. Thus
Clara—as she was always called—was born into a world of adults and, as
she later recalled, “had no playmates, but in effect six fathers and
mothers.” She might well have added “six teachers,” for she noted that
“all took charge of me, all educated me according to personal taste.”

    [Illustration: _Sarah Stone Barton was a native New Englander and
    was born in 1787. She married at age 17, and in her first seven
    years of marriage, she gave birth to her first four children. The
    last, Clara, followed after a ten-year interval._]

Sally Barton, her mother, was an erratic, nervous woman, with a
reputation for profanity and a violent temper. She vented her
frustrations in compulsive housework, and Clara Barton later recalled
that her mother “never slept after 3 o’clock in the morning” and “always
did two days work in one.” Sally Barton spent little time with her
youngest daughter, preferring to leave her with other family members.
Thus Clara Barton learned political and military lore from her father,
mathematics from her brother Stephen, and horseback riding from brother
David. Her two sisters, Sally and Dolly, concentrated on teaching her
academic subjects. Besides this household instruction, she attended both
private and public schools in the Oxford area.

She was a serious child, anxious to learn, but timid to try. Her later
reminiscences of childhood were filled with stories of frightful
thunderstorms, intimidating schools, encounters with snakes, and
crippling illnesses. When she was six her sister Dolly, who had been an
intellectual girl, became mentally unbalanced, and the family had to
lock her in a room with barred windows. Once Dolly escaped and chased
David’s wife, Julia, around the yard with an ax in her hand. Clara
Barton never publicly mentioned her sister’s insanity, but she privately
thought the illness had been brought on by Dolly’s unfulfilled desire to
obtain a higher education. This rather frantic home-life and the
presence of Dolly in the Barton household must have added greatly to her
timidity and to her later emotional instability.

Barton developed great loyalty for her family, eccentric as they were.
On one occasion she nursed her brother David for two years after he was
seriously injured in a fall. Later she used her political influence to
assist family members; for example, to defend a cousin’s job or to
secure suitable military appointment for a relative. Throughout her life
she was a faithful correspondent, continually interested in the affairs
of nephews, nieces, cousins, brothers, and sisters. And in later years
she described her family life in glowing terms, never mentioning her
mother’s tantrums or Dolly’s insanity. Her devotion also extended to
family friends.

The Bartons were quintessentially industrious. David and Stephen Barton
were businessmen, successful pioneers of milling techniques. Clara
Barton’s two sisters taught school; a cousin became the first woman Post
Office official in Worcester County, Massachusetts. Such diligence was
one of the great influences in Clara Barton’s life. “You have never
known me without work,” she wrote when in her eighties, “and you never
will. It has always been a part of the best religion I had.”

She began work early. She had been an intellectually precocious child
and by her late teens was competent to teach. She first taught in the
Oxford schools, and later she conducted classes for the children of
workers in the Barton family mills. In these one-room schools she gained
a reputation for first-rate scholarship and excellent discipline. She
expelled and whipped students when necessary, but mostly she cajoled
them into obedience through affection and respect. When her first school
won the district’s highest marks for discipline, she remonstrated: “I
thought it the greatest injustice ... [for] there had been no
discipline.... Child that I was, I did not know that the surest test of
discipline is its absence.”

Barton was introspective and keenly aware of herself as an individual,
and this enabled her to view her students individually. She gave them
such personal attention that scores of former pupils wrote to her in
later years, confident that their uniqueness had touched her. Barton in
turn called her pupils “my boys” and made no apologies for her loyalty.
“They were all mine,” she recalled in the second part of her
autobiography, “second only to the claims and interests of the real
mother.... And so they had remained. Scattered over the world, some
near, some far, I have been their confidant.... I count little in
comparison with the faithful grateful love I hold today of the few
survivors of my Oxford school.”

Teaching thus reinforced her loyalty and her sense of individuality. Her
excellence as an instructor also had the effect of mitigating her
introversion and strengthening her self-assurance. Indeed, she became
confident enough to teach the roughest district schools and to demand
pay equal to a man’s. “I may sometimes be willing to teach for nothing,”
she told one school board, “but if paid at all, I shall never do a man’s
work for less than a man’s pay.”

In 1850, after more than ten years of successful teaching, she felt
compelled to “find a school ... to teach _me_ something.” Female
academies were rare. She settled upon the Clinton Liberal Institute in
Clinton, New York, and took as many classes as possible in her course.

The institute was, in many ways, an ideal academy for Barton. The
school’s liberal philosophy and broad approach to education for women
corresponded with her family’s liberal traditions and her own political
and religious feelings. Moreover, the climate of New England and New
York in the 1830s and 1840s was one of intellectual and moral
progressiveness: Horace Mann instituted far-reaching educational reforms
in Massachusetts; Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote about the philosophic basis
of human liberty; religion lost its evangelistic approach; William Lloyd
Garrison expounded on the plight of the enslaved black; and a few women
such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton realized that their position was little
better than that of slaves and protested against it.

None of this activity was lost on Clara Barton, who possessed an innate
sense of honesty and justice. She became an early advocate of rights for
women. “I must have been born believing,” she wrote, “in the full right
of woman to all the privileges and positions which nature and justice
accord her in common with other human beings. Perfectly equal
rights—human rights. There was never any question in my mind in regard
to this.” She supported the cause of woman suffrage, for she maintained
that while a woman was denied the vote she “had no rights and ... must
submit to wrongs, and because she submits to wrongs she isn’t anybody.”
Yet she steadfastly asserted her rights and deemed it “ridiculous that
any sensible, rational person should question it.” Although she did not
participate in women’s rights rallies until later in her life, she
always acted on her principles. In February 1861, for example, Barton
began to champion the cause of her cousin, Elvira Stone, a postmistress
who was about to lose her job to a man. Barton laid the unpleasant facts
before her friends in Washington without hesitation: “As Cousin Elvira
had never taken any parts [_sic_] in politics ... political tendencies
can scarcely be made a pretext, neither incompetence, neglect of
business, location or lack of a proper recognition of, or attention to,
the wants of the community in any manner—And it would not _look well_ to
commence a petition with _Mankind_ being naturally prone to selfishness
we hereby etc., etc.—And I have been able to divine nothing except that
she is guilty of being a woman.” By April she had secured her cousin’s
position. She dryly remarked that Elvira Stone was certainly entitled to
it, for, “I have never learned that the [post office] proceeds arising
from the female portion of the correspondence of our country were
deducted from the revenue.”

    [Illustration: _Stephen Barton was a descendant of Edward Barton who
    had come to Salem, Massachusetts, in 1640. Stephen, born in 1774,
    served in the Indian Wars in Ohio Territory during the 1790s under
    Mad Anthony Wayne._]

    [Illustration: _David Barton was a keen horseman. In later years
    Clara Barton referred to him as the “Buffalo Bill of the
    neighborhood” when recalling the events of her childhood. David and
    his brother Stephen owned and operated a satinet mill: satinet was a
    kind of cotton cloth._]

Barton felt that by winning such small battles, her larger feminist
principles were upheld. But her real contribution in these early years
was her own attitude and actions. By demonstrating that her talents,
courage, and intellect were undeniably equal to a man’s she quietly
furthered the women’s cause as much as parades and speeches did. “As for
my being a woman,” she told the men who questioned her, “[you] will get
used to that.”

Her interest in the extension of liberties for women was not selfishly
inspired. Rather it was a product of her deep-rooted sense of integrity
and fairness. She believed rigidly in human rights, especially in the
rights of those unable to defend or help themselves. “What is
everybody’s business is nobody’s business,” Barton once declared. “What
is nobody’s business is my business.” Her advocacy of equality colored
her political views.

Neither could Barton tolerate dishonesty and petty arrogance. More than
once during the Civil War she railed against “the conduct of improper,
heartless, unfaithful Union officers” who blithely ignored the plight of
the “dirty, lousy, common soldiers.” She expected high standards of
politicians, soldiers, and schoolboys alike. Once when a former pupil
had misused some money she had entrusted to him, she lamented: “I am
less grieved by the loss than I am about his manner of treating my
trust.... I am as square as a brick and I expect my boys to be square.”

In 1852, Barton demonstrated the sincerity of her principles in a
dramatic way. She left Clinton to stay with a schoolmate near
Bordentown, New Jersey, and taught at a private subscription school, for
there were no free public schools. She felt uneasy about the numbers of
children whose parents could not afford private instruction, and she
began to agitate for a free school. But the popular view was that free
schools were a form of charity. She refused to give in and eventually
swayed the local school board. A small house was outfitted, and she
began to lead one of the first free schools in the state.

The Bordentown free school was a pronounced success. In its first year
the number of pupils rose from 6 to 600, and the town built a new
school-house. The town, however, could not accept a woman as the head of
a school of 600 pupils and a man was named principal. She became his
assistant. “I could bear the ingratitude, but not the pettiness and
jealousy of this principal.”

Whether the pettiness was real or imagined, Barton could not endure a
secondary position. While she debated resignation, her nerves gave way,
causing a case of laryngitis. Early in 1854, she resigned and left for
Washington, D.C., where she hoped to improve her health and “do
something decided” with her newly realized “courage and tolerable
faculty of winning [her] way with strangers.”

Barton’s health did improve in Washington, and she was soon able to “do
something decided.” Charles Mason, the commissioner of patents, hired
her as a clerk. At this time no women were permanently employed by the
Federal Government though previously there had been. Most officials
agreed with Secretary of the Interior Robert McClelland who declared
that there was an “obvious impropriety in the mixing of the two sexes
within the walls of a public office.” She gained the confidence of
Commissioner Mason, however, and became his most competent and trusted
clerk. Moreover, she combatted the many dishonest clerks who sold patent
privileges illegally. The whole affair, she concluded, made quite a
commotion, and the clerks “tried to make it too hard for me. It wasn’t a
very pleasant experience; in fact it was very trying, but I thought
perhaps there was some question of principle involved and I lived
through it.”

    [Illustration: _James Buchanan (1791-1869) held several public
    offices before becoming President in 1857. He was a member of the
    Pennsylvania House of Representatives and of the U.S. House of
    Representatives and Senate. He was secretary of state for James K.
    Polk and ambassador to Great Britain during the Presidency of
    Franklin Pierce. As President he felt powerless to deal with the
    States that seceded in the last months of his administration though
    he abhorred their actions. He retired to his home in Lancaster,

Although she lost her job at the Patent Office under the Buchanan
administration in 1856, Barton was reappointed late in 1860. She enjoyed
living in Washington, for she was fascinated by politics and liked
knowing such prominent figures as Massachusetts Senator Henry Wilson.
She often sat in the Senate gallery to watch the proceedings and became
astute and well-informed on political matters.

Clara Barton was still a clerk at the Patent Office when the Civil War
began. Like many other intelligent and independent women of her day, she
was often filled with restless discontent, probably stemming from having
more to give than life demanded. Her job as Patent Office clerk demanded
little but self-effacement and neat penmanship. The conflict that arose
in 1861 provided her with an outlet for her energy and satisfied her
longing to lose herself in her work and to be needed.

                        Doing Something Decided

    [Illustration: _When President Lincoln issued his call for
    volunteers to maintain the Union, the response was immediate and
    troops began heading for Washington. Some Massachusetts volunteers
    passing through Baltimore, which was decidedly Southern in
    sentiment, were attacked by local citizens._]

In late April 1861, less than two weeks after the bombardment of Fort
Sumter in South Carolina, the Massachusetts Sixth Regiment arrived in
Washington, D.C., from Massachusetts. This regiment hailed from the
Worcester area and many of the men were friends or former pupils of
Clara Barton. Their train was mobbed while passing through Baltimore,
and Barton, concerned that one of her “boys” might have been injured,
rushed to their temporary quarters in the Senate Chamber. She found the
Regiment unharmed, but sadly lacking in basic necessities—“towels and
handkerchiefs ... serving utensils, thread, needles ... etc.” She bought
and distributed as many of these items as she could, then wrote to the
anxious families in Massachusetts to send preserved fruits, blankets,
candles, and other supplies to supplement the unreliable army issues.
“It is _said_ upon proper authority, that ‘our army is supplied,’” she
wrote to a group of ladies in Worcester, “how this can be so I fail to
see.” When the generous New Englanders inundated her with useful
articles and stores, Barton’s home became a virtual warehouse. “It may
be in these days of quiet idleness they have really no pressing wants,”
she observed, “but in the event of a battle who can tell what their
needs might grow to in a single day?” Such garnering of supplies against
unforeseen disaster eventually became a central characteristic of her
relief work in the years to come.

Barton’s earliest concern with aiding the Union army stemmed from her
loyalty to the Massachusetts men. She felt a personal involvement with
those who “only a few years ago came every morning ... and took their
places quietly and happily among my scholars” and an allegiance to
others from her home state. “They formed and crowded around me,” she
noted. “What could I do but go with them, or work for them and my
country? The patriot blood of my father was warm in my veins.”

Her patriotism also was aroused by the Union cause. Although she
maintained that the purpose of the war was not solely to abolish
slavery, she also held little sympathy for the Southern way of life and
aligned herself with such Republicans as Henry Wilson who believed that
historically the Southern states had conspired to tyrannize the North.
“Independence!” she once scoffed, “they always had their independence
till they madly threw it away.” She was exhilarated. “This conflict is
one thing I’ve been waiting for,” she told a friend, “I’m well and
strong and young—young enough to go to the front. If I can’t be a
soldier I’ll help soldiers.” And feeling even more exalted, she declared
that “when there is no longer a soldier’s arm to raise the Stars and
Stripes above our Capitol, may God give strength to mine.”

For a year Barton contented herself with soliciting supplies. Then, as
the horrible effects of battle were reported in Washington, she began to
think of aiding soldiers directly on the battlefield. She had visited
hospitals and invalid camps, but what disturbed her most were the tales
of suffering at the front. Soldiers often had wounds unnecessarily
complicated by infection due to neglect, or died of thirst while waiting
for transportation to field hospitals. Nurses were urgently needed at
the battlefield, but she wondered if it was seemly for a woman to place
herself directly in the lines of battle: “I struggled ... with my sense
of propriety, with the appalling fact that I was only a woman whispering
in one ear, and thundering in the other [were] the groans of suffering
men dying like dogs.”

Her father encouraged her to go where her conscience directed. When
Captain Barton died in March 1862, she felt that her duties to the
family had closed. She petitioned Massachusetts Gov. John Andrew and
other government officials for permission to join General Burnside’s
division at the front. Late in the summer of 1862, at the Battle of
Cedar Mountain, Virginia, she “broke the shackles and went to the

At Cedar Mountain, and the subsequent second battle of Bull Run, she
began a remarkable service which continued to the end of the war. Here,
for the first of many times, Barton and her “precious freights” were
transported in railroad cars or by heavy, jolting army wagons to a scene
of utter desolation and confusion. When she arrived at Bull Run, 3,000
wounded men were lying in a sparsely wooded field on straw, for there
was no other bedding. Most had not eaten all day; many faced amputations
or other operations. She was unprepared for such carnage, but she
distributed coffee, crackers, and the few other supplies she had
brought. With calico skirt pinned up around her waist, she moved among
the men and prayed that the combination of lighted candles and dry straw
would not result in a fire that would engulf them.

    [Illustration: _Andersonville prison camp in Georgia_]

    [Illustration: _Confederate dead at Antietam_]

Scanty as her supplies were, Barton’s aid was timely and competent. An
army surgeon, Dr. James I. Dunn, wrote to his wife: “At a time when we
were entirely out of dressings of every kind, she supplied us with
everything, and while the shells were bursting in every direction ...
she staid [_sic_] dealing out shirts ... and preparing soup and seeing
it prepared in all the hospitals.... I thought that night if heaven ever
sent out a homely angel, she must be one, her assistance was so timely.”

Dunn’s letter was widely published during the Civil War, and he was
embarrassed that his private portrayal of Barton as a “homely angel”
ever saw print. She, too, seems to have been embarrassed, for she
crossed the word out on the newspaper clippings she kept and substituted
the word “holy” for “homely.” Although the original letter shows that
Dunn did indeed mean “homely,” Barton’s biographers have taken their cue
from her and given her the title “the holy angel.”

These early battles taught Clara Barton how poorly prepared the Union
army was for the immense slaughter taking place and how immediate
battlefield aid meant much more than a battalion of nurses back in

In quick succession the battles of Fairfax Court House and Chantilly
followed second Bull Run. A surgeon recalled that at Chantilly “we had
nothing but our instruments—not even a bottle of wine. When the
[railroad] cars whistled up to the station, the first person on the
platform was Miss Barton again to supply us with ... every article that
could be thought of. She staid [_sic_] there till the last wounded
soldier was placed on the cars.” She worked for five days in the pouring
rain with only two hours of sleep. As at all battles, she took time to
jot down the names of many wounded men, so that their families could be

Barely two weeks later, on September 14, she again went to the field,
this time with advance information about a battle to be fought near
Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia). She arrived too late but
rushed on to Antietam, which she reached at the height of battle on
September 17. Once again, she cooked gruel, braved enemy fire to feed
the wounded, and provided surgeons with precious medical supplies. She
had a narrow escape from death when a bullet passed under her arm,
through the sleeve of her dress, and killed the wounded soldier cradled
in her arms.

In all this fury, Barton was unflappable. At the Battle of
Fredericksburg in December 1862, “a shell destroyed the door of the room
in which she was attending to wounded men,” recalled co-worker Rev. C.M.
Welles. “She did not flinch, but continued her duties as usual.” And she
was working at the Lacy House, where hundreds of men were crowded into
12 rooms, when a courier rushed up the steps and placed a crumpled,
bloody slip of paper in her hands. It was a request from a surgeon
asking her to cross the Rappahanock River to Fredericksburg where she
was urgently needed. As always, hospital space was inadequate, and dying
men, lying in the December chill, were freezing to the ground. With
shells and bullets whistling around her, Barton bravely crossed the
swaying pontoon bridge. As she reached the end of the bridge an officer
stepped to her side to help her down. “While our hands were raised, a
piece of an exploding shell hissed through between us, just below our
arms, carrying away a portion of both the skirts of his coat and my
dress.” She made her way into Fredericksburg without further mishap. She
was lucky; the gallant officer who helped her on the bridge was brought
to her a half hour later—dead.

Bravery and timeliness were conspicuous elements of Barton’s Civil War
service. But of equal importance was her compassion for the individual
soldier. And she treated the wounded of both sides alike. Her relief
work was also notable for its resourcefulness. She built fires,
extracted bullets with a pocket knife, made gallons of applesauce, baked
pies “with crinkly edges,” drove teams, and performed last rites. When
all other food gave out she concocted a mixture of wine, whiskey, sugar,
and army biscuit crumbs. “Not very inviting,” she admitted, “but always
acceptable.” When she lacked serving implements, she emptied jars of
fruit and jelly and used them. When tired she propped herself against a
tent pole or slept sitting up in a wagon. The common soldier remembered
her sympathy and tenderness, the officer her calmness and alert activity
under fire.

As historian R.H. Bremer notes, Barton viewed her role in the war as
something of a family matter. If she was a “ministering angel,” she was
also “everybody’s old-maid aunt”—fussing over “my boys,” worrying over
clothes and food, and treating the men as fond nephews. Much of her
success with quartermasters, officers, and men was due to this attitude,
which eclipsed suspicion of her as a woman and radiated the
sentimentality of the time.

She pursued her self-appointed task with remarkable tenacity. Her
contribution was unique, for she worked directly on the battlefield, not
behind the lines in a hospital. She worked primarily alone—and liked it
that way. Although she respected such organizations as the Sanitary
Commission, she felt that by working independently she could comfortably
assist where she saw need. She wanted to be her own boss and be
appreciated for her individual efforts. She did not seek glory, but she
needed praise and did not wish to have it bestowed on the name of an
impersonal group or commission.

There is no question that Clara Barton hugely enjoyed acclaim. She liked
being in the inner elite of wartime politics, for it gave her the chance
to shine as a personality, to be revered as an “Angel of the
Battlefield.” In later life she enjoyed trips to Europe that amounted to
triumphal tours.

Barton’s relief work benefitted her in another way. Throughout her life
she was self-conscious and introspective, preoccupied with small
personal incidents which she magnified out of proportion to their
importance. She once described herself as “like other people ... only
sometimes a ‘little more so,’” and the description is apt. She was
inwardly pessimistic, and highly sensitive to criticism. She confided to
her diary that she felt “pursued by a shadow” and spent years with
“scarcely one cheerful day.” Periodically she became so depressed that
she could not “see much these days worth living for; cannot but think it
will be a quiet resting place when all these cares and vexations and
anxieties are over, and I no longer give or take offense. I ... have
grown weary of life at an age when other people are enjoying it most.”

                                                   _Continues on page 30_

               “They Saw in High Purpose a Duty to Do”[1]

    [Illustration: _Dorothea Dix (1802-87) started teaching Sunday
    School at the East Cambridge House of Corrections in Massachusetts
    in 1841. The appalling conditions she observed there spurred her to
    attempt to reform prisons and mental institutions. This work
    preoccupied her the rest of her life. She died in Trenton, New

  Clara Barton was not the only civilian who ministered to the wounded
  during the Civil War. The nature of this conflict was so personal and
  so immediate that many hundreds of volunteers gave enormously of their
  time in hospitals and on the field. In the North, Dorothea Dix
  interrupted her pre-war work with the insane to become superintendent
  of Female Nurses; Walt Whitman, Louisa May Alcott, Frances Dana Gage,
  and “Mother” Mary Ann Bickerdyke are a few of the other famous names
  connected with such service. Of especial importance were the Christian
  and Sanitary Commissions, organizations which worked with the
  government in camp and on the battlefield to improve the lot of the
  Union soldier. In the Confederacy, stringent financial conditions and
  widely scattered population prevented relief efforts from being as
  organized as those of the North. But charity had a deep-rooted meaning
  for the Southern cause, and self-denial became a matter of pride. “We
  had no Sanitary Commission in the South,” wrote one Confederate
  veteran, “we were too poor.... With us each house was a hospital.”

  The United States Sanitary Commission was established in April 1861.
  It was originally designed for inquiry into the health of the troops
  and as an advisory board to the government on improvement of sanitary
  conditions in the army. In the early months of the war, the Sanitary
  Commission attempted to methodize the fragmented benevolent efforts of
  the Union. It fought favoritism to particular regiments with equitable
  distribution of supplies, administered from a network of regional and
  local auxiliaries. By 1863, however, the commission was, of necessity,
  drawn to the battlefield, where it established hospital and transport
  ships, supply stations, and gave direct aid to the wounded. Several
  million dollars were raised by the commission through “Sanitary
  Fairs,” large fund-raising bazaars. At one point the Sanitary
  Commission had more than 500 agents working in the field. By its
  impartiality and organization, the Sanitary Commission was the
  forerunner of the Red Cross in concept, if not in actuality.

  Another organization, drawn along similar lines, was the United States
  Christian Commission. Established by a group of New York churches in
  1862, its object was to “give relief and sympathy and then the
  Gospel.” Volunteers in the Christian Commission were called
  “Ambassadors of Jesus;” they were chosen largely from the ranks of
  clergymen and YMCA members but many women were among its workers. The
  Christian Commission did give battlefield relief, and sought to supply
  reading material, clothing, and medicine.

  “They would stand with you now, as they stood with you then,
  The nurses, consolers and saviors of men."
                                       _The Women Who Went to the Field_

    [Illustration: Field hospital.]

  Clara Barton was familiar with these organizations, and, especially in
  the latter part of the war, often worked alongside them. But though
  she wrote publicly that their labor was always in “perfect accord,
  mutual respect and friendliness,” she chose to work alone rather than
  align herself too closely with the commissions. Barton’s natural
  leadership and difficulty in working with others prompted her to
  remain independent, where she would not be “compromised by them in the
  least.” Furthermore, she secretly scorned the commissions’ work, which
  she thought inexperienced and impractical: “an old fudge” she called
  the Sanitary Commission in her journal.

  Barton also chose not to work with Dorothea Dix’s “Department of
  Female Nurses.” A compulsive humanitarian worker, Dix had volunteered
  her services to the War Department at the opening of hostilities. Her
  offer was accepted and Dix began the impossible task of collecting
  supplies, selecting nurses, and supervising hospitals for the Union
  army. Dix was a perfectionist and her dogmatic and strident opinions
  won her few friends. But her sharp altercations with physicians and
  officers resulted more from frustration because she could not relieve
  the massive misery, than from an over-bearing personality. Feeling
  that she had failed to achieve her mission, Dix wrote at war’s end:
  “This is not the work I would have my life judged by.”

  The use of female nurses was an innovation during the Civil War and
  Dix was anxious for the women under her to be taken seriously. Fearful
  that nursing would become a sport among adventurous young women, she
  laid down stringent and inflexible rules for nurses. These rules would
  have greatly hampered Clara Barton’s independent spirit and this is
  one reason she chose not to join Dix’s force.

  In addition to the official organizations there were numerous “unsung
  heroes” during the Civil War. Most notable were the religious orders
  such as the Sisters of Charity who calmly defied the army’s
  restrictions and worked both at the front and in hospitals. Despite
  the fact that such diverse groups inevitably caused conflicts and
  jealousies, the Civil War provided a field large enough for all of the
  humanitarian organizations which labored in it.

    [Illustration: _Mary Ann Bickerdyke_]

    [Illustration: _Walt Whitman_]

While aiding others, Barton, for a time, forgot herself. Her “work and
words,” she insisted, were solely bound up in “the individual
soldier—what he does, sees, feels, or thinks in ... long dread hours of
leaden rain and iron hail.” As she gained self-confidence and acclaim,
she shed her morbid introspection. Once when she was asked if her work
had been interesting, she gave a revealing reply: “When you stand day
and night in the presence of hardship and physical suffering, you do not
stop to think about the interest. There is no time for that. Ease pain,
soothe sorrow, lessen suffering—this is your only thought day and night.
Everything, everything else is lost sight of—yourself and the world.”

In April 1863, Barton transferred her base from Washington to Hilton
Head Island off the coast of South Carolina. She had been advised that a
major siege of Charleston would be attempted and believed she could be
most useful there. She also hoped to be closer to her brothers: Stephen
lived behind Confederate lines in North Carolina, and David had been
sent by the army to Hilton Head in the early days of 1863.

During the eight-month siege of Charleston, she worked on the
battlefields of Morris Island and Fort Wagner and helped nurse soldiers
dying of malaria and other tropical fevers. Charleston proved to be a
less active spot than anticipated, however, and this fact, coupled with
a growing rift between Barton and hospital authorities, led her to leave
the area in January 1864. She returned to Washington, where she
continued to gather supplies as she awaited her next chance for service.

Her chance came in May 1864, when “the terrible slaughter of the
Wilderness and Spotsylvania turned all pitying hearts once more to
Fredericksburg.” Here she witnessed some of the most frightening scenes
she ever encountered. Fifty thousand men were killed or wounded in the
Wilderness Campaign. “I saw many things that I did not wish to see and I
pray God I may never see again,” she told a friend. Rain turned the red
clay soil of Virginia to deep mud, and hundreds of army wagons, crowded
full of wounded and suffering men, were stuck in a tremendous traffic
jam. “No hub of a wheel was in sight and you saw nothing of any animal
below its knees.”

She immediately set about feeding the men in the stalled wagons, but
another, more appalling situation arose. Some “heartless, unfaithful
officers” decided that it was, in fact, a hardship on the refined
citizens of Fredericksburg to be compelled to open their homes as
hospitals for “these dirty, lousy, common soldiers.” Always a champion
of the “army blue” against the “gold braid,” she hurried to Washington
to advise her friend Henry Wilson of the predicament. Wilson, chairman
of the Senate Military Affairs Committee, swiftly warned the War
Department. One day later the homes of Fredericksburg were opened to
Union soldiers. She returned to the battlefield with additional supplies
and continued to help the wounded. “When I rose, I wrung the blood from
the bottom of my clothing before I could step, for the weight about my

After the Wilderness Campaign she served as a supervisor of nurses for
the Army of the James, under Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, until January
1865. She organized hospitals and nurses and administered day-to-day
activities in the invalid camps that received the wounded from Cold
Harbor, Petersburg, and other battles near Richmond. Many of these
soldiers remembered her thoughtfulness. If a wounded man requested
codfish cakes “in the old home way,” he most likely got them; a young
soldier, wasted to a skeleton, was tenderly cared for until his
relatives arrived to take him home; requests to have letters written
were never too much trouble.

    [Illustration: _Throughout the Civil War Benjamin Butler (1818-93)
    was a controversial figure as he invariably was at odds with the
    national administration on the treatment of the civilian population
    and the black slaves. Leaving the Army, he went into politics and
    served in the U.S. Congress and one term as governor of
    Massachusetts. It was as governor that he appointed Clara Barton
    superintendent of the Women’s Reformatory at Sherborn._]

At the end of the Civil War an exhausted Clara Barton felt certain of
one thing: “I have labored up to the full measure of my strength.” And
she labored without pay and often used her own funds to buy supplies. In
the field she shared the conditions of the common soldier: “I have
always refused a tent unless the army had tents also, and I have never
eaten a mouthful ... until the sick of the army were abundantly
supplied.” Her pragmatic judgment and ability to work under the most
dangerous and awkward of conditions earned her the respect of surgeons
and generals who ordinarily considered they had “men enough to act as
nurses” and did not want women around to “skeddadle and create a panic.”
General Butler described her as having “executive ability and
kindheartedness, with an honest love of the work of reformation and care
of her living fellow creatures.”

Barton’s perceptive and sympathetic nature led her to foresee
innumerable social problems after the Civil War. A champion of the
underdog, she was concerned with the precarious situation of the newly
freed slaves. What she saw on her travels to the South was alarming:
uneducated, dependent blacks were being duped by their former masters,
and freedom was, in many cases, a burden, not a blessing. Few blacks
knew of the laws passed for their benefit and many did not understand
that they must continue to work. She observed that the former “owners
were disposed to cheat [a] great many.” Wherever she went, Barton tried
to explain the law and the meaning of freedom to the blacks, many of
whom walked great distances to ask her advice.

    [Illustration: _Frederick Douglass (1817?-95) was born in Talbot
    County, Maryland, the son of a white man and a slave woman. He was
    an eloquent spokesman for American blacks before and after the Civil
    War and spent his life fighting for equality. He was appointed U.S.
    minister to Haiti in 1889._]

Barton, however, did more than advise. She consulted with Senator Wilson
about the best possible personnel for the Freedman’s Bureau and lobbied
Congress for a bill allowing blacks to use surplus army goods. She
attended meetings of the Freedman’s Aid Society and sent reports on
blacks’ conditions to the Freedman’s Bureau. She also worked for the
extension of suffrage through “Universal Franchise” meetings and the
American Equal Rights Association; she spoke at their rallies and formed
lifelong attachments with such prominent leaders as Frederick Douglass
and Anna Dickenson. During October of 1868, she began to formulate a
plan for helping “the colored sufferers.” The plan, modelled on the work
of Josephine Griffing, apparently involved the use of abandoned barracks
and former hospitals near Washington for “Industrial Houses.” Here
Freedmen could learn a trade and be “provided with the means of
self-support and so command the respect of [their] former masters.” She
discussed her ideas with several people, but unfortunately, the project
was dropped because of her failing health.

Barton remained a staunch ally of blacks during her lifetime. Blacks
employed by her received wages consistent with those of whites and
generally received additional training and education. When few other
charitable groups were willing to aid blacks who were the victims of
natural disasters, such as the storm that hit the Sea Islands of South
Carolina in 1893, Barton’s Red Cross never hesitated. And those who
denied the bravery or competence of black troops in the Civil or
Spanish-American Wars found her an outspoken opponent. Made honorary
president of a society honoring soldiers of the Spanish-American War,
she resigned when she found that it was open only to whites.

At the same time she was promoting the enfranchisement of freedmen, she
embarked on a project aimed at diminishing another major post-war
problem: the whereabouts of thousands of missing soldiers. She
appreciated the difficulty of keeping accurate records in the confusion
of battle and understood that it was often nearly impossible to
recognize the dead, or identify individual graves among the hastily dug
common trenches. Her wartime notebooks and diaries are filled with names
of missing and wounded soldiers and lists of those who died in her arms
with perhaps no one else to know their fate. With official permission
from President Lincoln, she devised a plan to identify missing soldiers
by publishing in newspapers monthly rolls of men whose families or
friends had inquired. Any person with information could write to her and
she would forward it to those concerned.

As she went about her work she learned that not everyone was willing to
be found. Soldiers who were attached to Southern sweethearts, who had
deserted, or who simply wished to start a new life, preferred to remain
missing. One young man wanted to know what he had done to have his name
“blazoned all over the country” in newspapers. “What you have done ... I
certainly _do not_ know,” she replied. “It seems to have been the
misfortune of your family to think more of you than you did of them, and
probably more than you deserve from the manner in which you treat
them.... I shall inform them of your existence lest you should not ‘see
fit’ to do so yourself.”

In all, Barton’s “Office of Correspondence with Friends of the Missing
Men of the United States Army” worked for four years to bring
information to more than 22,000 families. The most help she received
came from a young man named Dorence Atwater, a former Andersonville
prisoner. He fortuitously had copied the names of more than 13,000 men
who had died during his confinement. With his aid, she identified all
but 400 of the Andersonville graves and caused the camp to be made a
National Cemetery.

Atwater’s help was invaluable, and he became a close personal friend.
She was highly indignant when the Federal Government arrested Atwater on
charges that his death list was government property. Federal officials
claimed that he had “stolen” back the list after turning it over to the
War Department. The case appears to have been actually based on
confusion and a stubborn refusal of both sides to back down, but Clara
Barton was incensed. She fought for Atwater’s release with every
influential person she knew; she advised and prompted his statements
from prison and carried on a monumental publicity campaign to elicit
public sympathy. Largely because of her efforts, he was freed.

Atwater’s defense and her work with the missing men further developed
her publicity efforts, which she had used so effectively in the Civil
War. As time went on, her relief work relied more and more on public
support. “We enter a field of distress,” she wrote, “study conditions,
learn its needs, and state these facts calmly, and truthfully to the
people of the entire country through all its channels of information and
leave them free to use their own judgments in regard to the assistance
they will render.” Still, she knew how to publicize her causes
dramatically. In 1886, when a tornado struck Mount Vernon, Illinois, she
wrote: “the pitiless snow is falling on the heads of 3,000 people who
are without homes, without food, or clothing.” The response was

Oral publicity also proved helpful during her attempt to identify
missing men. In 1866, she began a successful lecture tour that
publicized both her cause and her name. She gave lectures throughout the
North and West and was featured on tours with such prominent speakers as
Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Lloyd Garrison, and Mark Twain. Her talks
centered on “Work and Incidents of Army Life.” The flyer portrayed her
lectures as “exquisitely touching and deeply interesting, frequently
moving her audience to tears.” As always, she enjoyed the notoriety and
in her diary wrote a flattering description of herself at the lecturn:
“easy and graceful, neith[er] tall nor short, neith[er] large nor small
... head large and finely shaped with a profusion of jet-black hair ...
with no manner of ornament save its own glossy beauty.... She [is]
_well_ dressed.... Her voice ... at first low and sweet but falling upon
the ear with a clearness of tone and distinctness of utterance at once
surprising and entrancing.”

Although she enjoyed being in the limelight, many of her old
insecurities returned. “All speech-making terrifies me,” she said,
“first I have no taste for it, lastly I hate it.” In 1868, while
delivering a lecture in Boston, she suffered what was apparently a
nervous breakdown and was ordered by her doctors to recuperate in

The periodic nervous disorders she suffered appear to have been directly
related to her sense of usefulness. When she was not working, her diary
entries often begin “Have been sad all day,” or “This was one of the
most down-spirited days that ever comes to me.” She once remarked that
nothing made her so sick of life as to feel she was wasting it. As long
as she was needed, admired, demanded, she could perform near miracles of
self-denial and courageous action. When the crisis ebbed, she became
despondent and sick, requiring attention of a different sort. As a
single woman, often removed from her family, she had no other way to
attract notice than to excel as an individual. When such an opportunity
faded, or when she found herself an object of criticism, she was, in
several senses, prostrated. When her interest was again aroused by the
chance of giving service, her health and spirits rebounded.

                       Battling for Ratification

    [Illustration: _Jean-Henri Dunant_]

Clara Barton arrived in Great Britain in late August 1869 with no
definite plans. Her doctors had ordered rest and a change of scene. She
toured London, visited Paris, then proceeded to Geneva. She thought she
might stay in Switzerland, but the depressing fall weather changed her
mind; she moved to Corsica, seeking sun and wishing to visit the haunts
of her longtime hero, Napoleon I.

She was ill, edgy, and demanding. Corsica, although beautiful, did not
suit her and by March she was back in Geneva. Here, by chance, she was
introduced to Dr. Louis Appia, a member of the International Committee
of the Red Cross. This organization was the result of the Geneva
Convention of 1864, which produced a treaty dealing with the treatment
of wounded and sick soldiers, prisoners of war, and civilians under
wartime conditions. The convention was inspired by a book entitled _Un
Souvenir de Solferino_ (A Memory of Solferino), in which author
Jean-Henri Dunant described the horrors of the Battle of Solferino. At
the time of her meeting with Appia, she had not heard of the Geneva
Convention nor of Dunant. When she finally read Dunant’s work, she must
have identified strongly with it, for he expressed perfectly the concern
for the individual which had prompted Barton’s Civil War aid: “A son
idolized by his parents, brought up and cherished for years by a loving
mother who trembled with alarm over his slightest ailment; a brilliant
officer beloved by his family, with wife and children at home; a young
soldier who had left sweetheart or mother, sisters or old father to go
to war; all lie stretched in the mud and dust, drenched in their own

At their first meeting, Appia asked Barton why the United States had not
signed the Treaty of Geneva. A U.S. delegate, Charles Bowles, had been
at the Geneva Convention, and Dr. Henry Bellows, president of the
Sanitary Commission, had urged the government to accede to the treaty.
But the United States remained the only major nation that had not
accepted the international pact. Barton said a key factor was probably
the American public’s almost total ignorance about the treaty, and she
asked Appia to provide her with further information about the
International Red Cross.

Barton soon found reason, in her words, “to respect the cause and
appreciate the work of the Geneva Convention.” On July 19, 1870, France
declared war on Prussia. She was restless and excited by hearing guns at
practice and wrote to Appia, offering her services to the Red Cross.
Before he could reply, however, she made her way to Basel, Switzerland,
where she worked with Red Cross volunteers making bandages. This tame
work exasperated her. “It is not like me, nor like my past to be sitting
quietly where I can just watch the sky reddening with the fires of a
bombarded city and ... have [nothing] to do with it.” Despite her
frustration, Barton’s work in Basel gave her great respect for the
garnering power of the Red Cross. Its warehouses were stocked with
supplies of all kinds, and trained nurses and clerks wearing Red Cross
armbands stood ready to assist. “I ... saw the work of these Red Cross
societies in the field, accomplishing in four months under this
systematic organization what we failed to accomplish in four years
without it—no mistakes, no needless suffering, no starving, no lack of
care, no waste, no confusion, but order, plenty, cleanliness, and
comfort wherever that little flag made its way, a whole continent
marshalled under the banner of the Red Cross—as I saw all this, and
joined and worked in it, you will not wonder that I said to myself, ‘If
I live to return to my country, I will try to make my people understand
the Red Cross and that treaty.’”

The opportunity to be useful and to forget petty irritants restored her
health. “I am so glad to be able to work once more,” she told her
cousin, Elvira Stone, “I _have_ worked ... all year, and grown stronger
and better.” She then made her way toward the battlefields of France
accompanied by Antoinette Margot, a young Swiss woman. On their way
toward Mulhouse, where several battles had been reported, they met
hundreds of refugees who pleaded with them to turn back. But when they
encountered trouble from German troops, Barton brought out a sewing kit
and speedily tacked a cross of red ribbon onto the sleeve of her dress.
Thus began her first service under the Red Cross badge, which she would
wear long and proudly.

    [Illustration: _Napoleon III, Emperor of France_]

    [Illustration: _Otto von Bismarck, Chancellor of Germany_]

    [Illustration: _Wilhelm I, Emperor of Germany_]

Barton was disappointed to learn that she was not needed at the front,
but she found her niche elsewhere. As she traveled through France, she
wrote to newspaper editor Horace Greeley that she had seen deserted
fields, “crops spoiled ... by both friend and foe. Her producing
population stands under arms or wasting in prisons—her hungry cattle
slain for food or rotting of disease—her homes deserted or smouldering
in ashes.” When Louise, grand duchess of Baden and a Red Cross patron,
asked her to help establish hospitals and distribute clothing to
destitute civilians, she undertook the work with zeal.

Barton’s accomplishments during the Franco-Prussian War lay mainly in
aid to civilians. Her most notable work was in Strasbourg, where she
used her powers of organization and publicity to establish a sewing
center to clothe the city’s destitute population. In a letter to a
generous English philanthropist in May 1871, she wrote: “Thousands who
are well to-day will rot with smallpox and be devoured by body-lice
before the end of August. Against ... these two scourges there is, I
believe, no check but the destruction of all infected garments; hence
the imperative necessity for something to take their place. Excuse, sir,
I pray you, the plain ugly terms which I have employed to express
myself; the facts are plain and ugly.”

                                                   _Continues on page 40_

              Jean-Henri Dunant and the Geneva Convention

  On June 24, 1859, forces commanded by French Emperor Napoleon III and
  Austria’s Emperor Franz Josef, met on the battlefield of Solferino, in
  Northern Italy. More than 40,000 men were killed or wounded in the
  battle, and towns and villages throughout the area became temporary,
  crude hospitals. In nearby Castiglione, a stranger, dressed in white,
  watched with horror as dazed and suffering soldiers were slowly
  brought from the battlefield only to be met with a shortage of
  doctors, inadequate accommodations, and an appalling lack of food and
  supplies. With spirit and speed “the man in white” began to recruit
  local peasants for volunteer service and to procure badly needed
  bandages, water, and food.

  The “man in white”—Jean-Henri Dunant—was not new to philanthropic
  endeavors. Born in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1828, he came of a
  well-to-do family with a strong religious background and a tradition
  of public service. As a young man Dunant had been an instigator of the
  movement that created the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA),
  which he hoped would promote fellowship and understanding between
  young men of many cultural backgrounds. Until the age of 30, Dunant
  was a banker, with business interests throughout Europe and Northern
  Africa. In June of 1859, these financial affairs took him to

  In a sense, Dunant never completely left Solferino. The many startling
  scenes he witnessed there continued to crowd his mind. “What haunted
  me,” wrote Dunant, “was the memory of the terrible condition of the
  thousands of wounded.” This horrible remembrance of men dying, often
  for want of the simplest care, inspired him to publish in 1862 a vivid
  account of the battle and its consequences. The book was called _Un
  Souvenir de Solferino_ (A Memory of Solferino).

  The realistic descriptions, and the compassion for the individual
  soldier shown in Dunant’s book created an immediate sensation in
  Europe. _Un Souvenir de Solferino_ wasted little space on the
  traditional “glories” of war; Dunant was more interested in the plight
  of the “simple troopers ... [who] suffered without complaint ... [and]
  ... died humbly and quietly.” The book advocated a radically new
  concept of charitable action: that all of the wounded, friend and foe
  alike, should be cared for. He had been inspired, said Dunant, by the
  Italian peasant women who murmured “tutti fratelli” (all are brothers)
  while treating the hated Austrians. Near the end of the book was a
  brief paragraph, destined to have dramatic impact on the humanitarian
  efforts of the world: “Would it not be possible,” wrote Dunant, “in
  time of peace and quiet, to form relief societies for the purpose of
  having care given to the wounded in wartime of zealous, devoted and
  thoroughly qualified volunteers?”

  The simple question may have been overlooked by readers caught up in
  the battle scenes of _Un Souvenir de Solferino_. But it caught the
  imagination of one influential man: Gustav Moynier, a citizen of
  Geneva who headed the charitable “Committee for the Public Benefit.”
  Moynier introduced a practical direction to Dunant’s dreams. He
  contacted Dunant, and together they established a committee, headed by
  Moynier, and including the commanding general of the Swiss Army,
  Guillaume Dufour. Two distinguished doctors, Louis Appia and Theodore
  Maunoir, completed the “Committee of Five.” This committee immediately
  began plans for an international convention to discuss the treatment
  of the wounded in wartime.

  In February 1863, 16 nations met in Geneva to discuss “the relief of
  wounded armies in the field.” Dunant’s proposals were debated and an
  informal list of agreements was drawn up. This agreement established
  the national volunteer agencies for relief in war. Then, in August
  1864 a second conference was held which produced the international
  pact, known as the Treaty of Geneva. The treaty rendered “neutral and
  immune from injury in war the sick and wounded and all who cared for
  them.” To distinguish the neutral medical personnel, supplies and
  sick, an international badge was needed. Out of respect for Dunant and
  the country which had been host of the conventions, the design adopted
  was that of the reversed Swiss flag. Those working under the Treaty of
  Geneva would thereafter be recognized by the emblem of a red cross on
  a white flag. The United States signed this treaty on March 16, 1882.

  Jean-Henri Dunant’s generous dream had been fulfilled, but he obtained
  no glory or recognition for many years. Dunant had neglected his
  business interests while promoting the Geneva conventions. By 1867 he
  was bankrupt and spent most of his remaining life a pauper.

  However, Dunant did live to receive, jointly with Frederic Passy, the
  first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901. It was a fitting tribute to the man
  who, in the words of Gustav Moynier, “opened the eyes of the blind,
  moved the hearts of the indifferent, and virtually effected in the
  intellectual and moral realm the reformation to which [he] aspired.”

    [Illustration: _In 1864, 11 European nations agreed to the terms of
    the Treaty of Geneva, which established the Red Cross. This
    painting, by Charles Edouard Armand-Demaresq, shows the ceremony of
    signing the treaty._]

Barton did not confine her activity to Strasbourg. After eight months
work, she left her sewing establishment in the hands of local officials
and journeyed to Paris where she distributed clothing, money, and
comfort to citizens. From Paris she went to Lyons and surveyed the
surrounding countryside for a relief headquarters, finally settling in
Belfort. This small border town had heroically withstood Prussian fire
for more than eight months. The people were “very poor and their
ignorance ... something deplorable,” noted Antoinette Margot. Many of
the citizens had never seen paper money—so Barton used only coins—and
less than one in 15 could write his name. Her activities were still
loosely tied to the Red Cross, but in most cases she used her own
judgment to come to terms with the destitution she found. Money was
given according to need, solace indiscriminately. Desperate mobs often
stormed the home of “Monsieur l’Administrateur” in which she was
staying; assistant Margot was “amused ... to see Miss Barton _protecting
her policemen_” and pacifying the crowds with her dignified bearing and
calm admonition to “wait a little and be quiet.” Barton tried to help
the anxious families of prisoners who had lost their means of support
and provided some relief for the French leaving German-occupied Alsace.
Margot later remarked that she wished “that her own people could see
their country-woman at work among European poor as not one European has

When the hostilities between France and Prussia ended, and with it the
need for Barton’s help, her health again declined. Despite the
decorations of several governments, she was despondent. Her eyes gave
out, her nerves collapsed. She had over-taxed herself in
nerve-shattering situations, and she suffered, in part, because she had
never really learned to care for herself. Troubled throughout her life
by insomnia, she often worked on four or five hours sleep. A sometimes
vegetarian, she took no pains to correctly nourish herself; dinner was
too often a large red apple or nothing at all. It is understandable, in
the light of this negligence and spiritual decline, that she suffered a
relapse into her old nervous disorders.

    [Illustration: _German soldiers rout French troops at Bazeilles,
    France, during the Franco-Prussian War._]

For a time Barton stayed in Germany. She then traveled with friends
throughout Italy, a tour highlighted by a visit to Mt. Vesuvius. In May
1872, she visited the Riviera and traveled via Paris to London. Though
somewhat improved, she was still weak, and her restlessness increased
daily. She stayed in London for more than a year, made many friends,
enjoyed horse shows and Madame Tussaud’s, and took part in a congress on
prison reform. But all the time she pondered her fate, bemoaned the
sacrifice of her time, and let small incidents unduly rankle. For a
while she considered writing for newspapers, but she felt too listless.
Visits from a niece, from the grand duchess of Baden, who had become her
devoted friend, and from Antoinette Margot could not rouse her. Finally,
on September 30, 1873, she sailed on the _Parthia_ for the United
States, still worried and uncertain about her future. “Have ye place,
each beloved one, a place in your prayer,” she plaintively asked in a
poem written aboard the _Parthia_, “Have ye work, my brave countrymen,
work for me there?”

Barton hoped to recover her spirits in America. Unfortunately, only a
few months after her return, she received word that her sister, Sally,
was critically ill. She hurried from Washington, D.C., to Oxford,
Massachusetts, only to find that Sally’s death had preceded her arrival
by hours. This blow was devastating; she collapsed utterly. A year
later, still shaky and depressed, she faced the death of Henry Wilson,
her political ally and close friend.

Barton was in serious need of a restful atmosphere. Through a young
woman in Worcester she learned of a sanitarium at Dansville, New York,
where the patients were treated with a popular “water cure.” There she
found “congenial society, wholesome and simple food, and an atmosphere
that believed health to be possible.” Her health did indeed improve at
Dansville. She eventually bought a house there, and made the small town
her home for the next ten years. She participated in plays, attended and
gave lectures, went on outings with other patients, and enjoyed her
position as the town’s most celebrated citizen. And, after one of her
lectures, she met one of the most influential people in her life: Julian
Hubbell, a young chemistry teacher at Dansville Seminary. They became
friends, and when she told him of the Treaty of Geneva and how she hoped
for its adoption in the United States, Hubbell asked what he could do to
help. “Get a degree in medicine,” she advised, and Hubbell complied. He
left his teaching position and entered the University of Michigan
medical school in 1878.

Julian Hubbell remained uncompromisingly loyal to Barton. When the
American Red Cross was established, he became its chief field agent. As
such he participated in more actual relief work than she did. His
skillful organization and quiet control were directly responsible for
much of the success of the early Red Cross. Upon her resignation, he too
gave up his career.

    [Illustration: _During the Civil War Henry Bellows (1814-82) founded
    and served as president of the United States Sanitary Commission. He
    had graduated from Harvard University at the age of 18 and five
    years later from Harvard Divinity School. He worked first in
    Louisiana and Alabama, but his career began in earnest when he
    became pastor of New York City’s Unitarian Church of All Souls.
    Throughout his life, he was known as an inspirer of people._]

In the late 1870s, Barton began to be active again in political affairs.
Her long interest in women’s rights was re-kindled, especially by
Harriet Austin, a doctor at the sanitarium. For a time, Barton adopted
the mode of Austin’s dress reform—loose, corsetless garments, which
included baggy trousers. It pleased her to “shed flannels” and dress
“just as free and easy as a gentleman, with lots of pockets, and
perambulate around to suit herself.” In 1876 she advocated a series of
dress reform meetings and helped Susan B. Anthony compile biographies of
noted women. In 1878, she participated in suffrage conventions in
Washington, D.C., and Rochester, New York.

As Barton’s health improved she also renewed her interest in
establishing the Red Cross in the United States. She knew that her first
step was to obtain the official sanction of the International Red Cross
Committee and spent much of 1877 and 1878 corresponding with Dr. Louis
Appia about a plan for promoting the Red Cross. Always jealous of her
position as sole representative of the cause, Barton was not above
discrediting both Charles Bowles and Henry Bellows, early advocates of
the Red Cross in America. Bowles is “utterly unreliable ... and ...
never worthy of confidence,” Barton wrote to Appia, and Bellows “wears
[his title of representative] as an easy honor, and it never occurs to
him that he is retarding the progress of the world.” Neither allegation
was true. But Barton gained the official blessing of the international
committee, and as their representative began her crusade for
ratification of the Treaty of Geneva.

Her first concern was to educate the public, for she had found that “the
knowledge of [the] society and its great objects in this country ... is
almost unknown, and the Red Cross in America is a mystery.” In 1878, she
published a small pamphlet entitled “What the Red Cross Is.” She
realized that the American public did not expect to be engaged in
another war and emphasized peacetime uses of the Red Cross. Red Cross
action against natural disasters had actually been proposed by Henri
Dunant in the third edition of _Un Souvenir de Solferino_, but in her
pamphlet she gave it priority. “To afford ready succor and assistance in
time of national or widespread calamities, to gather and dispense the
profuse liberality of our people, without waste of time or material,
requires the wisdom that comes of experience and permanent

    [Illustration: _Frances Dana Gage (1808-84) found time while raising
    eight children to write and speak on temperance, slavery, and
    women’s rights. Her anti-slavery activities in Missouri met with a
    hostile reception. During the Civil War she helped former slaves
    adjust to freedom. In her later years she wrote children’s

Barton also began mentioning the Treaty of Geneva in occasional lectures
to veterans and local citizens. She wrote persuasively to influential
friends, such as Benjamin F. Butler, and former minister to France Elihu
B. Washburne. “I am not only a patriotic but a proud woman,” she told
Washburne, “and our position on this matter is a subject of
mortification to me. I am humbled to see the United States stand with
the barbarous nations of the world, outside the pale of civilization.”
Other friends, among them Frances Dana Gage and Mrs. Hannah Shepard,
wrote articles advocating establishment of the Red Cross. Barton labored
many hours to translate, write, and explain materials on the Red Cross
to influential men in New York and Washington.

The same year, 1878, she presented information concerning the Red Cross
to President Rutherford B. Hayes. She also delivered an invitation to
the United States from International Red Cross president Gustav Moynier
to join the association. But she found little enthusiasm in the Hayes
administration. A fear of “entangling alliances” with other countries
still prevailed and the State Department shied away from permanent
treaties. Furthermore, the treaty had previously been submitted by Dr.
Bellows, and the Grant Administration had rejected it. Hayes considered
the subject closed.

When a Congressional joint resolution to ratify the Treaty of Geneva was
tabled early in 1879, she shelved her own plans for a while, traveled
between New York State and Washington, D.C., lectured some, and
entertained relatives at her Dansville home. But she remained alert for
an opportunity, and when James A. Garfield ran for President in 1880,
she campaigned in his behalf. With his election that November, she hoped
for a more sympathetic administration. To her relief, she found both
Garfield and Secretary of State James Blaine interested. Plans were made
to submit the treaty to the Senate for ratification, and she continued
to lobby senators.

In June 1881, with success in sight, Barton and a few friends formed the
first American Association of the Red Cross. She was elected president,
an office she originally planned to keep only until the Treaty of Geneva
was signed. The organization’s main purpose at this stage was to promote
adoption of the treaty, without which the body had no international
authority or recognition. The first local chapter of the American Red
Cross, and the first to give actual aid, was established at Dansville,
New York, in August 1881.

Even with the organization established, Barton’s trials were not over.
The assassination of President Garfield in the summer of 1881 deterred
the process of ratification by several months. She also was concerned
about the many rival organizations that were mushrooming around her. The
“Red Star,” “Red Crescent,” and “White Cross” all appeared. One group,
the “Blue Anchor,” posed a threat to the treaty ratification, for
several senators’ wives belonged to it and were openly hostile to her.
The rival charities irritated her, and she let herself indulge in
self-pity and undue alarm. “There is in all the world, not one person
who will come and work beside me to establish the justice of a good
cause,” she wrote. “It is only natural that I should long to be out of
the human surroundings which care so little for me.”

Barton need not have worried so much. The new President, Chester A.
Arthur, was an advocate of the Red Cross, and when she called upon the
Secretary of State early in 1882 he showed her the treaty, already
printed, awaiting only the recommendations of the Senate and official
signatures. As she read it, Barton began to weep, for, as a cousin
remarked, “her life and hope were bound up in it.” On March 16, 1882,
she received a note from Senator Elbridge Lapham informing her of “the
ratification by the Senate of the Geneva Convention; of the full assent
of the United States to the same.” “_Laus Deo_,” concluded the note, but
to Barton it was almost anticlimactic. “I had waited so long,” she wrote
in her journal, “and was so weak and broken, I could not even feel

Clara Barton’s success in securing ratification of the Treaty of Geneva
is perhaps her most outstanding achievement. Primarily through her
writing, speeches, and dedication the public and U.S. officials came to
know of the Red Cross. For six years she persisted in lobbying Congress;
the treaty ultimately passed without a dissenting vote. And, although
she “could not believe that someone would not rise up” to help her, no
one ever did. The American National Red Cross remains a monument to
Barton’s singular perseverance and her powers of persuasion.

                   Barton and the Red Cross in Action

Clara Barton was 60 years old when the Treaty of Geneva was ratified by
the Senate. She at first considered her work completed. But the
immediate demands made on the young American Red Cross changed her mind;
she felt it would be foolish to put the Red Cross into other hands.

Barton stamped the early Red Cross decisively with her personality. She
was a woman of strong will and deliberate action, with, as biographer
Percy Epler states, “a just and accurate estimate of her own power to
master a situation.” By the 1880s, she was accustomed to being in
command. She could, and did, inspire great loyalty—Antoinette Margot’s
letters to her customarily begin “My own so precious, so precious Miss
Barton,” or “So dear, so preciously loved Miss Barton”—though some
complained that she demanded, rather than deserved the fealty. Barton
left no doubt that she alone governed the Red Cross and that all others
were subordinate. One of her most loyal aides referred to her as “the

    [Illustration: _When many people are closing out their careers,
    Clara Barton was just beginning her most important work._]

She had a sharp intellect, was able to see issues clearly, and was
articulate. Although she had clear-cut opinions on nearly every subject,
she was loath to force her ideas on others. Dr. Hubbell, writing after
her death, maintained that she disliked controversy and would almost
never argue, “but when she did speak she could tell more facts to the
point ... with no possibility of misunderstanding than any person I have
ever known.”

She was confident when she was in control of a situation, but she had
difficulty working with others. She was a perfectionist. Determined
always to do things in her own way, she early decided “that I must
attend to all business myself ... and learn to do _all_ myself.”
Secretaries and servants came and went, but few ever satisfied her
exacting demands. In her own endeavors she could tolerate no rival, but
she did not aspire to widespread power.

Privately Barton was often very different from her public image.
Criticism was taken with apparent calm and stoicism, but inwardly she
burned and fought the temptation “to go from all the world. I think it
will come to that someday,” she sadly noted, “it is a struggle for me to
keep in society at all. I want to leave all.” Her temper was also
controlled and betrayed itself only by a deepening of her voice and a
sharpness in her eyes. She was socially insecure and given to
self-dramatization. She often exaggerated her hardships to elicit pity
or respect. For example, she frequently spoke of sitting up all night on
trains as both a measure of economy and a guard against unnecessary
personal luxury, yet her diaries contain numerous references to
comfortable berths. Several times she wrote flattering articles about
herself, in the third person, which she submitted to various
periodicals. In one, written during the Franco-Prussian War, she showed
the way she hoped the public would view her: “Miss Clara Barton,
scarcely recovered from the fatigues and indispositions resulting from
her arduous and useful duties during the War of the Rebellion, was found
again foremost bestowing her care upon the wounded with the same
assiduity which characterized her among the suffering armies of her own

Her depression and insecurity were, in most cases, undetectable to
others. What they noticed were her humanitarian feelings and deep and
abiding empathy for those who suffered. Her friend, the Grand Duchess
Louise, thought of her as “one of those very few persons whose whole
being is goodness itself.” Biographer and cousin William E. Barton
recalled that she “did not merely sympathize with suffering; she
suffered.” Others were struck by her witty and spontaneous sense of
humor. She told one friend that she was more thankful for her sense of
humor than for any other quality she possessed, for it had helped her
over hard times.

Another of Barton’s assets was a keen spirit of objectivity. William
Barton noted that she rarely stood on precedent and that she tried to
keep an open mind about people, methods of business, and herself. This
openness is perceptible in her acceptance of startling changes. Railway
travel, typewriters, automobiles, and airplanes were all taken in
stride, and when telephones and electric lights became available she had
them installed in her home immediately. She welcomed dress reform,
prison reform, and other social change. Clara Barton was a determined,
sensitive, competent, difficult, and unpredictable woman, and she
brought all of these qualities to, and etched them on, the American Red
Cross in 1882.

During the years that she was president of the American Red Cross, it
was a small but well-known group. Her name lent power and respectability
to the Red Cross cause. The list of relief efforts undertaken in those
early years is impressive—assistance at the sites of numerous natural
disasters, foreign aid to both Russia and Turkey, battlefield relief in
the Spanish-American War. She participated in nearly all of the field
work, which was her métier, for it combined her humanitarian sentiments
with her need to lose herself in her work and the remuneration of

The first work undertaken by the Red Cross in America was actually done
prior to the ratification of the Treaty of Geneva. In the fall of 1881,
disastrous forest fires swept across Michigan. Local Red Cross chapters
at Dansville and Rochester, New York, sent money and materials amounting
to $80,000, and Barton directed Julian Hubbell to oversee the work. Thus
did Hubbell, still a medical student at the University of Michigan,
begin his career as chief field agent for the American Red Cross.

    [Illustration: _In early September 1881, Michigan farmers in “the
    Thumb” of the State were burning stubble left after the harvest.
    Aggravated by drought conditions, the fires spread to the dry
    forests. One estimate at the time stated that an area 100 by 30
    kilometers (60 by 20 miles) was burned._]

From 1881 on, nearly every year saw the Red Cross actively engaged in
the relief of some calamity. In 1882, and again in 1884, the Mississippi
and Ohio Rivers flooded, sweeping away valuable property, leaving
hundreds destitute and homeless. Relief centers were established in
Cincinnati and Evansville, Indiana, and the Red Cross steamers, the
_Josh V. Throop_ and _Mattie Belle_, cooperated with government relief
boats to supply sufferers cut off by water. All along the rivers,
families were furnished with fuel, clothing and food, or cash. The Red
Cross also undertook to relieve starving and sick animals by
contributing oats, hay, corn, and medicine. Lumber, tools, and seeds
were left to help the stricken rebuild their lives. Barton herself
supervised the work on the _Mattie Belle_ as it plowed its way between
the cities of St. Louis and New Orleans.

The American Red Cross did not attempt to supply every need in every
instance, nor did it try to aid the victims of every calamity. A notable
case in which the Red Cross declined to give aid occurred in 1887. A
severe drought had plagued the people of northwestern Texas for several
years; State and Federal aid had been denied and in desperation a
representative of the stricken area applied to Barton for relief. She
went directly to the scene, but she determined that what was needed was
not Red Cross aid but an organized drive for public contributions.
Through the _Dallas News_ she advertised for help and was delighted to
find a quick response.

Besides flood and fire relief, the young American Red Cross helped
tornado victims in Louisiana and Alabama in 1883 and contributed in the
relief of an earthquake at Charleston, South Carolina, in 1886. When a
tornado struck Mount Vernon, Illinois, in February 1888, Barton and her
co-workers organized the inhabitants so effectively that they needed to
stay at the scene only two weeks.

An outbreak of yellow fever in Jacksonville, Florida, also in 1888,
precipitated the first use of trained Red Cross nurses, many of whom
worked heroically. In one instance, ten of them jumped from a moving
train to enter the small town of Macclenny, Florida, whose rail service
had been stopped because of the fever’s epidemic proportions. But
unfortunately the Jacksonville episode was not an entirely happy one.
Barton had a lifelong inability to pick qualified subordinates; in this
case the man she chose to supervise the nurses—a Colonel Southmayd of
the New Orleans Red Cross—had extremely poor judgment. Southmayd found
the Jacksonville workers to be “earnest and warm-hearted,” but all
evidence is to the contrary. Some nurses refused to work for three
dollars a day when they could get four dollars in private hospitals. One
got drunk on the whiskey used as medicine, another was arrested for
theft, and several were accused of immoral conduct. Southmayd staunchly
refused to remove the offending nurses, and for a time the incident put
an unfortunate stigma on Red Cross workers. It also served to strengthen
Clara Barton’s determination to oversee personally as much Red Cross
field work as possible.

The most celebrated peacetime relief work undertaken by the young
American Red Cross was at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 1889. Johnstown,
at the point where Stony Creek joins the Conemaugh River, often endured
spring floods, but in May 1889 the rains were unusually heavy. After
several days low-lying parts of Johnstown lay under 1 to 4 meters (3 to
13 feet) of water. Then a dam broke in the mountains 16 kilometers (10
miles) from the city. A wall of water, 9 meters (30 feet) high, rushed
down to kill 2,200 people and destroy millions of dollars in property.

Barton arrived in Johnstown five days after the tragedy on the first
train that got through. She immediately began work, using a tent as
living and office space, and a dry goods box as a desk. From that desk
she administered a program that amounted to half a million dollars,
conducted a publicity campaign, and joined forces with the other
charitable societies working in Johnstown. One of her aides recalled the
long hours and complex work that characterized their five months in
Johnstown and noted that through it all she remained “calm, benign,
tireless and devoted.”

Barton’s first concern was a warehouse for Red Cross supplies and under
her direction workmen erected one in four days. She then turned to
alleviating the acute housing shortage. Hotels, two stories high and
containing more than 30 rooms each, were built and fully furnished to
serve as temporary shelters. Crews of men were organized to clean up the
wreckage, while women volunteered to oversee the distribution of
clothing and other necessities. As in all its work, the Red Cross tried
to supply jobs and a spirit of self-help along with material assistance.

    [Illustration: _Floodwaters roamed through Johnstown, Pennsylvania,
    in 1889, destroying a great number of homes and businesses. More
    than 2,200 persons lost their lives._]

Clara Barton’s organization was only one of many that came to the aid of
Johnstown, but its contribution was outstanding for its quick thinking
and tireless energy. Gov. James A. Beaver of Pennsylvania noted in a
letter of appreciation to the Red Cross that “she was among the first to
arrive on the scene of calamity.... She was also the last of the
ministering spirits to leave the scene of her labors.” The city of
Johnstown scarcely knew how to express its thanks. “We cannot thank Miss
Barton in words,” an editorial in the _Johnstown Daily Tribune_ stated.
“Hunt the dictionaries of all languages through and you will not find
the signs to express our appreciation of her and her work. Try to
describe the sunshine. Try to describe the starlight. Words fail.”

Field work took up a large portion of Barton’s time in the 1880s, but
she was able to pursue some other interests and obligations. During
1883, for example, she was superintendent of the Women’s Reformatory
Prison at Sherborn, Massachusetts. She undertook the position at the
request of former general, now Gov. Benjamin F. Butler, but she took it
reluctantly. Her administration was characterized by the extension of
dignity and education to inmates, rather than punishment. She found the
work annoying and depressing, and she was glad to leave it and get back
to the Red Cross.

Between the burdensome paper work and correspondence of the Red Cross
and actual relief work, Barton found time to be the official American
representative to four International Red Cross conferences between 1882
and 1902. She enjoyed these trips to Europe, for they gave her a chance
to see friends and to be honored, as she always was by court and
convention. The international congress of 1884, at Geneva, was
especially memorable. An “American Amendment” to the Geneva Treaty was
adopted, and, as the head of the newest signatory power in the Red Cross
she was the center of attention. The amendment sanctioned Red Cross work
in peacetime calamities and was the direct result of her activities in
the United States. The congress cheered as she was praised as having
“the skill of a statesman, the heart of a woman, and the ‘final
perserverance [_sic_] of the saints.’”

Barton was also concerned with planning a national headquarters for the
American Red Cross. In the 1880s and early 1890s Red Cross headquarters
were located at various spots in Washington, D.C. After 1891, however,
plans were made to build a permanent home for the organization. Situated
at Glen Echo, Maryland, a short distance outside Washington, the new
building served both as office and home for Barton and her staff.

What few hours she could spare from Red Cross activities she devoted to
raising the status of women. She was proud that the Red Cross embodied
many of her beliefs. In the last two decades of the 19th century, she
continued to speak at rallies and join conventions promoting women’s
rights. Her lecture topics generally centered on philanthropic work done
by women, but she spoke out most vehemently on female suffrage. She was
incensed that the decision to let women vote hinged upon the assent of
male legislators, but she remained optimistic about the ultimate
outcome. She told one lecture audience that “there is no one to give
woman the right to govern herself. But in one way or another, sooner or
later, she is coming to it. And the number of thoughtful and
right-minded men who will oppose will be much smaller than we think, and
when it is really an accomplished fact, all women will wonder, as I have
done, what the objection ever was.”

Barton’s prestige lent respect to the feminist cause, and she was in
much demand as a lecturer and author. In 1888 alone, she spoke in
Montclair, New Jersey; Dansville, New York; Boston and Dorchester,
Massachusetts, and was a vice president and featured speaker at the
First International Woman’s Suffrage Conference in Washington, D.C.

Red Cross activities in the 1890s followed much the same pattern as
those of the previous decade. Hubbell and Barton oversaw relief to
tornado victims in Pomeroy, Iowa, in 1893, and helped those ravaged by a
hurricane off the coast of South Carolina in late 1893 and 1894. When
news of a famine in Russia reached the United States, the American Red
Cross obtained supplies, including 500 carloads of corn given by Iowa
farmers, and shipped them to Russia. The actual relief was relatively
little, but it pioneered the concept of peacetime foreign aid.

    [Illustration: _Despite bouts of nervousness Clara Barton enjoyed
    public speaking and was in great demand as a lecturer, talking
    either about her Civil War experiences or women’s rights._]

                           MISS CLARA BARTON,
                             OF WASHINGTON,
                     THE HEROINE OF ANDERSONVILLE,

The Soldier’s Friend, who gave her time and fortune during the war to
the Union cause, and who is now engaged in searching for the missing
soldiers of the Union army, will address the people of

                            LAMBERTVILLE, in
                             HOLCOMBE HALL,
                             THIS EVENING,
                       APRIL 7TH, AT 7½ O’CLOCK.
                      SCENES ON THE BATTLE-FIELD.
                        ADMISSION,    25 CENTS.

American money and supplies also were used to help victims of religious
wars in Turkey and Armenia during 1896. Although Turkey had signed the
Treaty of Geneva, Red Cross efforts were at first resisted there. Under
strong pressure from the American public, however, Barton and field
workers of the American Red Cross sailed for Turkey. They gained
admittance to the country and spent ten months helping the wounded and
distributing tools and medical supplies. It was, in many ways, a
harrowing experience, and the safety of the Americans was repeatedly
threatened. At least one of Barton’s biographers, Blanche Colton
Williams, thought that the Armenian relief work was the height of
Barton’s achievement.

Despite all of Clara Barton’s peacetime achievements, the Red Cross
remained officially connected with the military, its chief function
being to give medical aid in time of war. The Spanish-American War in
1898 provided the first chance for the American Red Cross to serve in
this official capacity. Unfortunately, the Red Cross effort was
fragmented, marked by contention and controversy, and it ultimately led
to the entire reorganization of the Red Cross in America.

The Red Cross, under Barton, sent various types of assistance to Cuba.
The earliest efforts, starting in January 1898, were in behalf of the
thousands of Cuban nationalists who had been herded into concentration
camps by the Spanish colonial government. Barton was giving civilian aid
in Cuba when the battleship USS _Maine_ blew up. When war was declared
on April 25, 1898, Barton and her small crew went to work in field
hospitals and hospital boats. She was distressed to find that once again
the Army Medical Department had sent inadequate personnel, and that
cots, food, and bandages were all lacking. “It is the Civil War all
over,” she lamented, “no improvement in a third of a century.”

Meanwhile a controversy of distressing proportions had developed within
the Red Cross. A powerful local auxiliary of the American Red Cross, in
New York, felt that the handful of workers led by 77-year-old Barton was
not adequate to meet the needs of troops and civilians. This chapter,
which became known as the Red Cross Relief Committee of New York, was,
in many ways, more powerful than Barton’s small national organization.
Where Barton’s group had concentrated on “hand to mouth” relief
efforts—those in which funds and supplies were given as soon as
received—the New York organization had gathered stores and funds, and
had established a hospital and school for nurses, and formed nearly 200
relief auxiliaries. It collected and shipped many more articles to Cuba
during 1898 than did the national society and sent several times the
number of trained nurses and doctors. The Red Cross Relief Committee of
New York was professionally run and its leaders were distressed by
Barton’s lowscale personal style, which had changed little since the
Civil War.

As she tried to retain control of the relief efforts, the New York group
fought for government sanction as the sole agency of the Red Cross
working in Cuba. Surgeon General George Sternberg favored the New
Yorkers, but the secretary of state upheld Barton’s claim. Little was
resolved and the two organizations continued to work independently. When
the New York Committee requested an accounting of funds spent in Cuba,
of which it had supplied the bulk, Barton wired to a subordinate: “If
insisted on refuse co-operation with [New York] committee.” Rivalry and
jealousy took the place of collaboration.

                                                   _Continues on page 56_

                  Scenes from the Spanish-American War

  The Spanish-American War took place between April 25, 1898, and August
  13, 1898. Battles were fought in the Philippines and Puerto Rico, but
  most of the fighting was in Cuba. Public reaction to the oppressive
  Spanish rule of Cuba initiated the conflict, when the battleship USS
  _Maine_ exploded in February 1898. Although it was never proven, the
  widespread belief was that the ship had been torpedoed by the
  Spaniards. Clara Barton visited the _Maine_ a few days before the
  disaster, and was nearby when the explosion occurred: “The heavy
  clerical work of that fifteenth day of February held [us] ... busy at
  our writing tables until late at night. The house had grown still; the
  noises on the streets were dying away, when suddenly the table shook
  from under our hands, the great glass door opening on to the ... sea
  flew open; everything in the room was in motion or out of place, the
  deafening roar of such a burst of thunder as perhaps one never heard
  before, and off to the right, out over the bay, the air was filled
  with a blaze of light, and this in turn filled with black specks like
  huge specters flying in all directions. A few hours later came ...
  news of the _Maine_.

  “We proceeded to the Spanish hospital San Ambrosia, to find thirty to
  forty wounded—bruised, cut, burned; they had been crushed by timbers,
  cut by iron, scorched by fire, and blown sometimes high in the air,
  sometimes driven down through the red-hot furnace room and out into
  the water, senseless, to be picked up by some boat and gotten
  ashore.... Both men and officers are very reticent in regard to the
  cause, but all declare it could not have been the result of an
  internal explosion....”

  The earliest efforts of the Red Cross in Cuba were to aid the civilian
  _reconcentrados_ who were being detained by the Spaniards. Medical
  aid, clothing, and food were distributed, and hospitals and orphanages
  established. When fighting broke out, however, the Red Cross moved to
  supply the needs of the wounded. Clara Barton described the scene of
  one hospital camp in July 1898: “[We] reached here [General William
  Shafter’s headquarters] yesterday. Five more of us came today by army
  wagon and on foot. Eight hundred wounded have reached this hospital
  from front since Sunday morning. Surgeons and little squads have
  worked day and night. Hospital accommodations inadequate and many
  wounded on water-soaked ground without shelter or blankets. Our
  supplies a godsend. Have made barrels of gruel and malted milk and
  given food to many soldiers who have had none in three days.”

  Barton, as always, pursued her work with impartiality: Cubans,
  Spaniards, and Americans all received her care. Henry Lathrop, a
  doctor who worked for the Red Cross Committee of New York felt this
  had a direct bearing on the outcome of the war. “Miss Barton was
  everywhere among the Spanish soldiers, sick, wounded and well. She was
  blessed by the enemies of her country and I seriously doubt if
  [General] Shafter himself did more to conquer Santiago with his men,
  muskets and cannon, than this woman.... The wounded men told their
  comrades about the kind treatment they had received at the hands of
  the Americans, and the news spread through the Army like wild-fire,
  completely changing the conditions. Those that preferred death to
  surrender were now anxious to surrender.”

  Despite such words of praise, Barton encountered some of the same
  prejudices that had hindered her work during the Civil War. Lucy
  Graves, Barton’s secretary, recorded that “some of the surgeons called
  on us; all seemed interested in the Red Cross, but none thought that a
  woman nurse would be in place in a soldier’s hospital. Indeed, very
  much out of place.”

  Most of the doctors changed their tune and were very happy to receive
  Barton’s help and supplies during a battle. Another grateful recipient
  of Red Cross supplies was Col. Theodore Roosevelt, commander of the
  celebrated “Rough Riders.” One day Roosevelt showed up at Red Cross
  headquarters requesting food and supplies for his sick men. “Can I buy
  them from the Red Cross?” he asked.

  “Not for a million dollars,” Barton said.

  The colonel looked disappointed. He was proud of his men, and said
  they needed these things. “How can I get them?” he insisted. “I must
  have proper food for my sick men.”

  “Just ask for them, colonel,” she said.

  “Then I do ask for them,” he said.

  “Before we had recovered from our surprise,” related Barton, “the
  incident was closed by the future President of the United States
  slinging the big sack over his shoulders, striding off ... through the

  Probably no thrill in Barton’s life was greater than the honor
  accorded her after the fall of Santiago, Cuba. When this city was
  conquered, the first vessel to enter the harbor was the Red Cross
  relief ship _The State of Texas_. A proud Barton stood on the deck of
  the ship and led the little band of Red Cross workers in singing the
  Doxology and “America.”

Barton viewed the New Yorkers as insurgents trying to usurp her glory.
“The world in general is after me in many ways,” she wrote. “I only wish
I could draw out of it _all_.” She believed that the New Yorkers’
function should have been one of supply and support for her own group,
and she could not understand why they criticized her for rushing off to
give relief rather than staying at home to direct the organization. And
she did not appreciate the problems that her absence from Washington
caused. The Army, irritated by the internal strife in the Red Cross,
supported neither group and offered little cooperation. Thus, the relief
effort in Cuba ended with minimal relief given and a divided American
Red Cross.

                         Storm and Controversy

To many members of the American Red Cross the work in the
Spanish-American War exemplified all that was wrong with their
organization: lack of coordination, and the arbitrary and short-sighted
rule of Clara Barton. Yet she seemed perfectly satisfied. In her book,
_The Red Cross in Peace and War_ (1898), she contended that the Red
Cross took a major and laudatory part in the hospital operations in
Cuba. She made no attempts at conciliation or compromise with her
critics and continued to run the American Red Cross in the same
individualistic style.

    [Illustration: _Clara Barton insisted that assistance and relief
    during peacetime become a standard Red Cross practice. Here the Red
    Cross gives help after the hurricane at Galveston, Texas, in 1900._]

It came as no surprise to those who knew Barton when she rushed once
more to a scene of a disaster. In September 1900 a hurricane and tidal
wave nearly submerged Galveston, Texas, and Barton, though 80 years old,
did not hesitate. Six weeks later she returned to Glen Echo laden with
praise and testimonials that her achievements in Galveston were “greater
than the conquests of nations or the inventions of genius.”

Her desire to remain in the field stymied the growth of the American Red
Cross because she failed to delegate authority. When she spent six weeks
or ten months away from Washington she left behind no organization to
continue day-to-day activities, solicit contributions, or expand
programs. Local chapters felt alienated from the national group and
resented that they often provided the material support but saw little of
the praise. One critic, Sophia Welk Royce Williams, wrote: “The National
Red Cross Association in this country has been Miss Clara Barton, and
Miss Clara Barton has been the National Red Cross Society.... [The Red
Cross] has been of great service to suffering humanity, but when one
asks for detailed reports, for itemized statements of disbursements ...
these things either do not exist or are not furnished.” The better
course, Williams believed, would have been for the Red Cross to adopt
the organization of the Sanitary Commission. Barton’s group clearly
lacked a national organization, a national board, and reports that would
stand as models and guides for relief work.

If the organization suffered, the quality of relief did not. At least
one initially skeptical correspondent saw much to praise in the
one-woman show. While visiting the hurricane-devastated Sea Islands in
South Carolina, Joel Chandler Harris wrote that the Red Cross’s
“strongest and most admirable feature is extreme simplicity. The
perfection of its machinery is shown by the apparent absence of all
machinery. There are no exhibitions of self-importance. There is no
display—no tortuous cross-examination of applicants—no needless delay.
And yet nothing is done blindly, or hastily or indifferently.”

What Harris also saw was a concerted effort to assist without the
demeaning effects of charity. Barton developed a knack for leaving a
disaster area at the right time: “It is indispensable that one know when
to end such relief, in order to avoid first the weakening of effort and
powers for self-sustenance; second the encouragement of a tendency to
beggary and pauperism.”

During her 23-year tenure as president of the American Red Cross, Clara
Barton was both its chief asset and its greatest liability. As founder
and president she promoted the Red Cross cause with all of her
considerable talent, and she brought zeal and idealism to Red Cross
relief work.

At the same time, her domineering, and sometimes high-handed, ways
hindered organizational growth. As Red Cross historian Foster Rhea
Dulles notes, her methods of administration were not always based on
sound business practices and did not command the confidence of many
people who might have given the association broader support.

Barton’s failure to delegate authority and to acknowledge popular
contributions more formally provided the basis for the criticism that
overwhelmed her between 1900 and 1904. It also accounted, at least in
part, for the bitter personal attacks that led to a deepening feud
between her friends and foes. Despite her adaptability in earlier days,
it was almost impossible for her to adjust to the new conditions of Red
Cross activity.

The group that opposed her was made up of prominent Red Cross workers
and was led by Mabel Boardman, an able and ambitious society woman.
Boardman’s group was anxious to see the Red Cross reorganized and their
cause gained momentum during 1900 and 1901. Barton refused to consider
it. Instead she divided the Red Cross into camps of “friends” and
“enemies.” She accused her foes of seeking power and of trying to gain
admission to the royal courts of Europe through the Red Cross. At the
annual meeting in 1902 after anticipating a move to force her
resignation, she rallied her forces and emerged with greater powers and
the presidency for life. “Perhaps not quite wise,” she wrote, “in view
of ugly remarks that may be made.” For the opposition, who believed that
the new charter had been railroaded through, this was the last straw.

After the 1902 meeting Barton thought that “the clouds of despair and
dread” had finally lifted, but events moved swiftly against her.
Boardman’s group succeeded in convincing President Theodore Roosevelt
that she was mishandling what was, by then, a quasi-governmental office.
On January 2, 1903, his secretary wrote to Barton stating that the
President and Cabinet would not serve—as all of his predecessors had—on
a committee of consultation for the Red Cross. The President directed
his secretary to announce publicly his withdrawal from the Red Cross

Barton was humiliated by the President’s clear endorsement of the
opposition faction, but she was absolutely devastated by the subsequent
decision to have a government committee investigate the Red Cross. The
official charges maintained that proper books of accounts were not kept,
that funds and contributions were not always reported to the Red Cross
treasurer, and that money was distributed in an arbitrary and
inconsistent manner. There was also a question about a tract of land
located in Indiana that had been donated to the Red Cross but never
reported to the organizational board. The charges were serious. Barton
knew that she had often used only her own judgment to apportion relief
funds and that she seldom kept accurate records in the field. She was so
much a part of her organization that she often failed to differentiate
between personal and Red Cross expenses—using her own funds for relief
work and donations for private needs. Unofficially her foes also
contended that she was too old and infirm to lead the Red Cross; they
felt new blood was desperately needed.

Barton was deeply wounded by the controversy swirling around her. A
loyal and patriotic woman, she felt that her friends and country had
deserted her and that she had been scrupulously honest. For a time, she
even considered fleeing to Mexico, but she was dissuaded by friends.
Though the investigating committee dropped the charges, thereby
completely exonerating her from any wrongdoing, she felt the indignity
for the rest of her life.

It is ironic that the qualities Clara Barton cherished and exemplified
most—loyalty and friendship, honesty and individual action—were the very
ones in question during the investigation. She could not admit defeat,
or even unconscious wrongdoing of any kind. There is no question that
the time had come for her to give up leadership of the Red Cross, but it
is sad that her foes could not have eased her out more gracefully or
handled the situation with tact and sympathy. In May 1904, at the age of
83, Clara Barton resigned as president of the American Red Cross.

In retirement she broke all ties with the Red Cross but retained a
lively interest in its activities. She often felt bitter about the
events that preceded her resignation, and she particularly resented the
way in which new Red Cross members were prejudiced against her—“ignorant
of every fact, simply enemies by transmission.” She was also critical of
the way in which the new Red Cross leaders approached relief work,
especially during the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. A small note of
satisfaction is detected in a diary entry: “The President has withdrawn
the distribution of public moneys contributed for San Francisco from the
Red Cross.... He finds he made a mistake in giving too much power to the
Red Cross.”

Still, she usually wished the best for the Red Cross. Her “one great
desire” was to “leave my little immigrant of twenty-seven years ago a
great National Institution.” And she hoped her successors would be
“freed from the severity of toil, the anguish of perplexity,
uncertainty, misunderstanding, and often privations, which have been
ours in the past.”

One of her last public efforts was the formation, in 1905, of the
National First Aid Society, which helped establish community aid
programs. “I thought I had done my country and its people the most
humane service it would ever be in my power to offer,” commented Barton,
“But ... [the Red Cross] reached only a certain class. All the accidents
concerning family life ... manufactories and railroads ... were not
within its province. Hence the necessity and the opportunity for this
broader work covering all.”

    [Illustration: _Theodore Roosevelt_]

                                                   _Continues on page 62_

                 “I Would Never Wear Undeserved Honors”

  Clara Barton was one of the most decorated women in United States
  history. In appreciation of her courageous humanitarian services she
  received ten badges and medals from foreign countries. Many of these
  medals were conferred upon her in person by such leaders as Kaiser
  Wilhelm I of Germany and his daughter Louise, the grand duchess of
  Baden. In one instance, Abdul Mamed, the sultan of Turkey, was so
  impressed with Barton’s methods of relief work that he accompanied his
  medal with a message to the State Department: if America desired to
  send further relief to Turkey, please send Clara Barton and her

  Although she was never officially honored by the United States
  government, Barton received many private medals and honorary
  memberships from American organizations; the Loyal Legion of Women of
  Washington, D.C., the _Waffengenossen_ (German-American soldiers who
  took part in the Franco-Prussian War), the Vanderbilt Benevolent
  Association of South Carolina, and the Ladies of Johnstown,
  Pennsylvania, were among those that honored Clara Barton in this way.
  One award she particularly valued was a medal presented to her in 1882
  by the International Committee of the Red Cross, when America adopted
  the Treaty of Geneva. Barton was also proud of the numerous “royal
  jewels” which were gifts of her friends the grand duchess of Baden,
  and Augusta, empress of Germany. Barton’s favorite among these was a
  large amethyst, carved in the shape of a pansy.

  She enjoyed her decorations without apology. They were in old boxes
  inside a “simple little wicker satchel,” and she rarely let them out
  of her sight. She even took them with her when she traveled. Visitors
  to her Glen Echo home were always eager to see the medals, and Barton
  was eager to show them. She would spend hours telling stories about
  the decorations beginning with a gold Masonic emblem. “My father gave
  it to me when I started for the front (during the Civil War),” Barton
  would say, “and I have no doubt that it protected me on many an

    [Illustration: _Pansy carved from amethyst_]

    [Illustration: _Iron Cross of Imperial Germany_]

    [Illustration: _International Red Cross medal_]

  Many of her favorite tales involved the Iron Cross of Germany; one of
  these took place in Massachusetts. She had been invited to a ball at
  which she wore a number of her medals. “I was being whirled around the
  ballroom by some gallant or other when I saw three German officers
  looking curiously at me as I passed. I wondered for a moment but
  promptly forgot about it until, as we swung around the room again ...
  the music suddenly stopped short. Everyone was gazing about
  bewilderedly, when I saw three officers advancing toward me and
  stopping, in front of me, gave the full German military salute. I was
  thoroughly astonished, but rallied enough to return the salute, which
  I fortunately remembered.” Barton thought the whole situation highly
  amusing. “They did not know who I was,” she concluded, “they simply
  dared not pass the Iron Cross without saluting it.”

    [Illustration: _Smoky topaz with pearls_]

    [Illustration: _Cross of Imperial Russia_]

    [Illustration: _Masonic emblem_]

  Another humorous incident involved one of Barton’s royal jewels. Many
  of the decorations were valuable in themselves, for they were
  fashioned from gold and silver and set with diamonds, sapphires, and
  exquisite enamel work. However, one brooch in particular was precious:
  a large smoky topaz set in gold, and surrounded by 24 perfectly
  matched pearls, the gift of the grand duchess of Baden. Once Barton
  took the brooch to Tiffany’s in New York for repair. She was dressed
  simply, as was her habit, and an efficient floorwalker suspected that
  perhaps she was not the rightful owner of the jewel. Eventually a
  manager was brought in who recognized Barton and cleared up the
  matter. He then expressed his admiration of the topaz brooch,
  especially the 24 pearls. Clara Barton liked to remember how
  astonished the suspicious floorwalker was that “such a shabby woman
  should own such remarkable jewels.”

  Barton enjoyed wearing her decorations as much as talking about them
  and she nearly always pinned on several before addressing an audience,
  or attending a meeting. In her later years she was often seen weeding
  the garden or milking the cows with one or two medals attached to her
  cotton workdress. On one occasion she was nearly weighted down by
  simultaneously wearing the Iron Cross, the Red Cross of Geneva, the
  Masonic badge, the Silver Cross of Serbia, and the extremely heavy
  Empress Augusta Medal. Said Barton: “They do brighten up the old

The business of First Aid took up much of her time, but she continued
her other interests. She attended and spoke at suffrage conventions and
held a party for 400 feminists at her Glen Echo home. But she viewed
with a jaundiced eye the arrival of the “suffragettes.” “Huge hats,
dangerous hatpins, hobble and harem skirts,” she observed in her diary
of 1911, “the conduct of the Suffragettes are [_sic_] hard to defend.”
She mourned the death of Susan B. Anthony in 1906, and gave her final
public remarks on behalf of women as a tribute to Anthony’s memory: “A
few days ago someone said in my presence that every woman in the world
should stand with bared head before Susan B. Anthony. Before I had time
to think I said, ‘And every man as well.’ I would not retract the words.
I believe her work is more for the welfare of man than for that of woman
herself. Man is trying to carry the burdens of the world alone. When he
had the efficient help of woman he should be glad, and he will be. Just
now it is new and strange, and men cannot comprehend what it would mean.
But when such help comes, and men are used to it, they will be grateful
for it. The change is not far away. This country is to know woman
suffrage, and it will be a glad and proud day when it comes.”

    [Illustration: _In the years that Clara Barton spent at Glen Echo,
    she came to love her house and yard. Here Dr. Hubbell, Mary Hines,
    the housekeeper, and Clara Barton relax at the dinner table._]

Barton was also kept busy by the work of two households—the Glen Echo
house and a summer home in North Oxford, Massachusetts. She worked in
the gardens, put up fruit and vegetables, did her own laundry, and even
milked the cows. She also continued her voluminous correspondence, and
wrote a slim autobiographical volume, _The Story of My_ _Childhood_. The
book, published in 1907, was intended to be the first of a series. The
work of writing was taxing, however, and she never finished the second
volume. But she remained active. “I still work many hours, and walk many
miles,” she proudly told friends in 1909. In her diary she wrote that
she had had “a hard day’s work—but I am so thankful—so grateful that I
can do it, and am not a helpless invalid to be waited on.”

Barton knew she was aging but fought it. Privately she conceded that
“there is a lack of coordination between the brain and the limbs,” but
publicly she resented any allusion to her age. She disliked giving away
recent photographs of herself and wished people would accept pictures of
her in “strong middle life.” She also fooled nature—and many people—by
artistically covering her age. A young relative was amazed to find that
Aunt Clara “was very particular about her make-up and in those days
there were few people who dared use creams and rouge and powder, but
Aunt Clara used them skillfully and the result was most amazingly good.
She looked years younger when she had finished ... and her eyebrows were
treated with a pencil, if you please.

“Next came the combing of her coal black hair which, by the way, had
been dyed. Mother told me once when she was with Aunt Clara when she was
sick for a long period and couldn’t have her hair attended to, it was
lovely and white, but she would not have it so and wore it dyed black to
the very last.

“After her face and hair were finished ... [she] put on her waist, but
before buttoning it down the front, she stuffed tissue paper all across
the front to make a nice rounded bust.”

She was, in many ways, an eccentric figure. Visitors were amused to see
her weed the garden, her chest plastered with the decorations of foreign
governments. She was always an individual in matters of dress, but her
costumes became more unusual in her later years. Her favorite dress
color was green and she enjoyed wearing a dash of red. One outfit had
five ill-matching shades of green for skirt, sleeves, collar and bodice,
two kinds of lace, red ribbon, “and about the bottom ... was a strip of
the most awful old motheaten beaver fur, about six inches wide.”
Financially, she was quite well off, but in the best New England
tradition she practiced economy in all things.

When a part of her dress wore out, she apparently replaced it with
whatever material was on hand.

Most of Clara Barton’s friends and family died before her, and in her
last years she was often lonely. She sometimes thought her achievements
were worthless beside the importance of friendship. “_What matters the
praise of the world?_” Barton asked herself in her journal on February
6, 1907, “_and what matter after we leave it especially? How hollow is
that thing called fame._”

Barton’s loneliness heightened what had been a mild interest in
spiritualism. She used faith healers and urged them on others. From 1903
on she was a champion of Christian Science and was an outspoken defender
of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science. She also dabbled
in astrology and became a firm believer in spiritualistic seances. Much
of her time after 1907 was spent in the company of a medium. With
complete sincerity Barton recorded conversations with Lincoln, Grant,
and Sherman, with her family, and with old friends Susan B. Anthony,
President McKinley, and Empress Augusta of Germany. She relied on these
“spirits” for advice and persuaded Dr. Hubbell to depend on them, too.
This had unfortunate repercussions. After Barton’s death, Hubbell was
taken in by a woman who claimed to have made contact with Barton’s
spirit. Hubbell was so under the influence of this woman that he
actually gave her the house at Glen Echo. It was several years and court
cases later before he got the house back.

Clara Barton died on April 12, 1912, at the age of 90. She had endured
double-pneumonia twice in one year and was too weak to recover fully.
Her last words, recalled from a favorite poem, were “Let me go, let me

She was a remarkable woman. She was neither the Christ-like figure Dr.
Hubbell idolized, nor the grasping Red Cross potentate that others saw.
She was an individual capable of firm action, strong beliefs, and an
ability to see a need clearly and fulfill it. To everything she
did—schoolteaching, Civil War aid, and Red Cross relief—she brought
strong idealism and unfailing energy. She was truly exceptional.

    [Illustration: _In 1902 Clara Barton was asked to be commencement
    speaker for Philadelphia’s Blockley Hospital nursing class. Here she
    poses with the graduates for the camera. By her eighty-first year
    she had become a national figure despite the mounting criticism of
    her management of the American Red Cross._]

                           Guide and Adviser

    [Illustration: _Clara Barton and Red Cross workers have a picnic in
    Tampa, Florida, in 1898._]

      Clara Barton National Historic Site: A Saga of Preservation

    [Illustration: _An exterior view of the house at Glen Echo._]

Clara Barton’s house in Glen Echo owes its existence to two unrelated
facts: The 1889 Johnstown Flood and a plan for a housing development at
Glen Echo. In 1890, two brothers, Edwin and Edward Baltzley, decided to
develop a cultural and intellectual residential community in Glen Echo.
The next year they established a branch of the National Chautauqua, an
association dedicated to education and productive recreation. The
Baltzley brothers approached Clara Barton and offered her a plot of land
and the workmen necessary to build a structure if she would locate in
their community. They hoped that the attraction of such a well-known
personality as Barton would be a testimonial to the soundness of their

The proposal suited Barton perfectly, for she was looking for a location
on which she could build a new headquarters building for the Red Cross.
After the Johnstown Flood she and Dr. Julian Hubbell had had one of the
Red Cross warehouses dismantled and the lumber shipped to Washington,
D.C., where she hoped to use it for the construction of the new
headquarters building. The Baltzleys’ offer came just at the right
moment and she accepted immediately. Although it was understood that it
was Red Cross property, the land was deeded directly to her. The whole
transaction was typical of the confusion that Barton allowed to exist
between her private possessions and those of the Red Cross; she could
never clearly separate the two.

Dr. Hubbell supervised the construction of the building, clearly
following the lines of the Johnstown structure. Here, however, he added
an extra flourish: a third floor “lantern” room over the central well.
In the summer of 1891 Barton and Hubbell moved in, but she found daily
travel to Washington, D.C., every day too taxing and decided to use the
house at Glen Echo strictly as a warehouse.

In 1897 electric trolley lines made Glen Echo more accessible to
Washington, and she decided once again to try living in Glen Echo.
Extensive remodeling made the house livable. A stone facade originally
built so that the Red Cross headquarters would harmonize with the nearby
Chautauqua buildings, which were never built, was removed and the house
was painted a warm yellow with brown trim.

    [Illustration: _The center hall with its balconies._]

    [Illustration: _The front parlor contains furniture that originally
    belonged to Clara Barton. The portrait is of her cat Tommy._]

The Glen Echo house was the headquarters of the American National Red
Cross from 1897 to 1904. As such it was the scene of much official
activity. But it was also a quiet retreat, a farm, and a home. Chickens
and a cow provided food for the household that usually included eight or
nine staff members. Frequent overnight guests and indigents sheltered by
Clara Barton swelled this number further. Her horses, Baba and Prince,
were housed in a stable, and cats Tommy and Pussy roamed the grounds. A
large vegetable garden furnished fresh produce. The grounds were a
profusion of flowers and vegetables mixed together. Visitors noted that
carrots and beets edged the walkway out to the trolley stop. Beds of
marigolds, corn, roses, and tomatoes grew together. Of particular pride
to the owner were the two varieties of Clara Barton rose that were
developed independently by two nurserymen: Conrad Jones in West Grove,
Pennsylvania, and Mr. Hofmeister in Cincinnati, Ohio. Strawberry plants
sent to her by the grateful farmers of Galveston, Texas, in appreciation
of her services after the disastrous hurricane and tidal wave in 1900
provided great desserts each June.

In 1909 Barton deeded the house to Dr. Hubbell—perhaps in fear that the
Red Cross might try to reclaim the building after her death. When she
died in 1912, Dr. Hubbell together with Mrs. John Logan and Gen. W.H.
Sears formed the Clara Barton Memorial Association. They hoped to turn
the house into a monument to Barton’s memory. They sold memberships in
the association to finance the maintenance of the property but the
response was poor, and they soon ran into financial problems.

The solution to their problems appeared to be at hand when Mabelle
Rawson Hirons came on the scene. A native of North Oxford,
Massachusetts, she was an acquaintance of Clara Barton and thus known to
Hubbell and his colleagues. She claimed that Barton had appeared to her
at a seance and told her to go to Washington and take charge of the Glen
Echo house. This message “from the beyond” and Mrs. Hirons’ assurances
that she was wealthy and would take care of all the financial problems
were all that the Memorial Association members needed to receive her
with open arms. Even her demand that Dr. Hubbell sign the deed over to
her raised no doubts.

Within a short time it became startlingly apparent that Mrs. Hirons was
not about to pay off the debts of the house. Instead she was using the
house to pay off _her_ debts by selling Barton’s own furniture and
renting out rooms. Dr. Hubbell was evicted by Mrs. Hirons and abandoned
by members of the Memorial Association who were disgusted with his
failure to understand what Mrs. Hirons was doing. He had to fend for
himself until a Mr. and Mrs. Canada, owners of a local grocery store,
took him in. They persuaded him to sue Mrs. Hirons in 1922, and four
years later the courts returned the house to him.

Dr. Hubbell died in 1929 and left the house to two of his nieces, Rena
and Lena Hubbell. Only Rena lived in the house, which she ran as a
rooming house. In 1942 she and her sister sold it to Josephine Frank
Noyes, who had come to Washington from Iowa. Mrs. Noyes and her sister
Henrietta Frank continued to run it as a rooming house. They also urged
people to come and see “Clara Barton’s House.” They took care of the
remaining original furniture and even managed to acquire some of the
pieces that Mrs. Hirons had sold.

In 1958 Mrs. Noyes died and left the property to her four sisters:
Frances Frank, Henrietta Frank, Katherine Frank Bronson, and Sarah Frank
Rhodes. By 1963 the sisters, being quite elderly, felt that the house
was too big for them to keep up and decided to sell it. The amusement
park next door offered them $50,000. The sisters feared that the house
would be torn down to enlarge the amusement park’s parking lot. Unhappy
at such a possibility, they decided to sell the house for $35,000 to
anyone who would save and maintain the property even though this would
mean a financial loss to themselves.

A group of Montgomery County, Maryland, Red Cross volunteers met and
proposed that the American National Red Cross buy the property and
preserve it as a historic site. The Red Cross replied that it could not
use its money for such a purpose, that its donations could only go for
disaster relief. The Red Cross, however, did enthusiastically support
the preservation project and in May 1963 passed a resolution urging all
Red Cross members to support the fund-raising effort. On May 28, 1963,
this group incorporated itself as the Friends of Clara Barton. They
agreed to pay the Frank sisters $1,000 by July 1963 to secure the sale.
A whirlwind of bake sales, fashion shows, and other events had raised
only $800 by the deadline. Several members went to talk to the Frank
sisters to get an extension of the deadline. As they were talking, the
amusement park’s lawyer walked in and handed one of the sisters a check
for $50,000. While they pondered whether to accept the check or grant an
extension, one of the Friends ran into the house and burst into the room
with a check for $200. The Franks handed the lawyer his $50,000 check
and sent him packing.

This was only the initial hurdle, for half of the remaining $34,000,
plus the settlement costs had to be raised by January 1, 1964. Public
solicitation, two house tours, and two benefits raised the amount and at
the turn of the year the Friends took possession. Later the group bought
all of Clara Barton’s furniture in the sisters’ possession.

In the succeeding years the Friends continued to raise money and work on
the house to repair structural defects. In April 1965 the house was
designated a registered national landmark. The Friends made their final
payment on the mortgage in early 1975. In April they presented the deed
to the National Park Service in accordance with legislation passed by
Congress in October 1974 authorizing the establishment of Clara Barton
National Historic Site.

In December 1979 the Friends disbanded and donated the $8,435.37
remaining in their treasury to the park to purchase furnishings for the
Red Cross Offices in the house. Their generosity contributed
substantially to the preservation of this property and ensured its

Since acquiring the property, the National Park Service has done
extensive research on the building and its contents to determine the
proper course of the preservation efforts. Today, work continues on the
building and on acquiring furnishings that reflect these findings.

The process of restoration is simultaneously tedious and fascinating.
Bit by bit the materials—wallpaper, partitions, even bathrooms—added
after Clara Barton’s time are removed, revealing the original fabric of
the building. Newspapers found in the walls as insulation are removed,
flattened, and saved. Historic floors, 1908 electrical wiring, and
doorways reappear. New questions arise as old ones are answered. The
sources are the house itself, Clara Barton’s diary and other writings,
and a collection of historic photographs. Each source adds a different
perspective to the restoration of her home and to a better understanding
of her life.

Clara Barton National Historic Site is open for guided tours on a
limited basis. For details call 301-492-6245. Free parking is available.
The park offers a variety of special programs on Clara Barton and her

    [Illustration: _Red Cross family tree_]

    [Illustration: _Diary and first aid kit_]

        National Park Service Sites Associated with Clara Barton

Andersonville National Historic Site, Andersonville, Georgia 31711. The
park is the site of the Confederate prison camp for Union prisoners of
war. In 1865 Clara Barton met Dorence Atwater, a former prisoner at
Andersonville, while she was involved in her search for missing men.
Edwin M. Stanton, secretary of war, approved of her plan to go to
Andersonville with Atwater and identify as many of the graves as
possible. Atwater’s written record, which he had kept during his
imprisonment, listed each man’s name and the number that marked his
position in the trench; by comparing this list with the cemetery’s
numbered markers Barton had no trouble identifying 12,920 graves; 440
remained unknown. During her stay in Andersonville, Barton wrote to
Secretary Stanton requesting that the former prison grounds be turned
into a national cemetery. Stanton agreed and on August 17, 1865, Barton
raised the flag at the dedication.

The park museum contains an exhibit devoted to the work of Barton and
Atwater and further explains their role in the establishment of the
cemetery. The park is open daily except for January 1, Thanksgiving, and
December 25.

    [Illustration: Andersonville cemetery.]

Antietam National Battlefield, Box 158, Sharpsburg, Maryland 21782.
During the battle of Antietam, Clara Baron attended and helped a
Pennsylvania surgeon tend to the Union wounded. The location of this
activity has never been precisely determined, though it is known that it
did not take place on ground currently owned by the park. Within the
park near stop 2 on the driving tour is a monument erected by the
Washington County, Maryland, Red Cross chapter in honor of her work
during the battle. The park is located north and east of Sharpsburg in
west central Maryland and contains the ground on which the bloody
September 17, 1862, battle was fought. It is open daily except for
January 1, Thanksgiving, and December 25.

    [Illustration: Antietam battlefield.]

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National
Military Park, P.O. Box 679, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401. At Chatham
Manor, across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg, you can visit
the house where Clara Barton provided relief and comfort to the wounded
during the battle of Fredericksburg. Exhibits in the Manor about
Barton’s role include a letter written to a cousin describing the battle
scene and her work. Chatham Manor is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It
is closed January 1 and December 25. The main visitor center for the
park, which contains the battlefields of Fredericksburg,
Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House, is on
U.S. 1 (Lafayette Avenue) in Fredericksburg. A self-guiding automobile
tour connects all the battlefields.

    [Illustration: Reenactment at Fredericksburg]

Johnstown Flood National Memorial, P.O. Box 247, Cresson, Pennsylvania
16630. The park is located along U.S. 219 and Pa. 869 at the site of the
South Fork Dam, 16 kilometers (10 miles) northeast of Johnstown,
Pennsylvania. Located at the dam site are a small visitor center,
restroom, interpretive trails, and a picnic area with tables and cooking
grills. If you drive to Saint Michael on Pa. 869, which closely follows
the shore of the 1889 lake, you will pass some of the Queen Anne
cottages and the clubhouse that were part of the resort at Lake
Conemaugh. Grandview Cemetery in Johnstown contains the graves of many
victims, including 777 who were never identified. The park is open daily
except Thanksgiving, December 25, and January 1.

    [Illustration: Aftermath of Johnstown flood]

Manassas National Battlefield Park, Box 1830, Manassas, Virginia 22110.
During the battle of Second Manassas, Clara Barton arrived in Fairfax
Station, Virginia, by train with supplies for caring for the wounded.
She joined a Federal field hospital that had moved into the hamlet ahead
of the Union retreat. At St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Fairfax
Station the Union doctors set up a hospital. Barton arrived at the same
time and contributed medical help. She never reached the battlefield
that is preserved in today’s park. St. Mary’s Church still stands at
11112 Fairfax Station Road, Fairfax Station, Virginia, and a plaque on
its wall honors Barton’s work.

    [Illustration: Statue of Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson at Manasses]

        National Park Service Sites Commemorating American Women

Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, Hyde Park, New York 12538.
Eleanor Roosevelt used “Val-Kill” as a retreat from the cares of her
busy and active life. At the cottage, built in 1925 in a pastoral
setting, she entertained friends and dignitaries and promoted the many
causes in which she was interested.

    [Illustration: Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site]

Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, c/o Richmond National
Battlefield Park, 3215 E. Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia 23223. The
brick house at 110A E. Leigh Street was the home of the first woman
president of an American bank. She was the daughter of an ex-slave.

    [Illustration: Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site]

Sewall-Belmont House National Historic Site, 144 Constitution Avenue,
NE, Washington, D.C. 20002. Since 1929 this house has been the
headquarters of the National Woman’s Party. It commemorates Alice Paul,
a women’s suffrage leader and the party’s founder, and her associates.

    [Illustration: Sewall-Belmont House]

                             Related Sites

The American National Red Cross Headquarters, 17th between D and E
Streets, NW, Washington, D.C. 20006. After Clara Barton resigned as
president, the Red Cross needed to find a suitable place for its
headquarters. After spending some years in various unused rooms in
government office buildings, the U.S. Congress approved legislation that
provided $400,000 to match an equal amount raised privately by Red Cross
officials and that donated a city block of land for a building. The land
has remained U.S. Government property although it is in the perpetual
custody of the American Red Cross. The main building, which fronts on
17th Street, contains exhibit areas on the ground and main floors. A
library on the third floor of the office building contains extensive
holdings about the Red Cross and related subjects. The complex of
buildings is open to the public 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through

    [Illustration: American National Red Cross Headquarters]

Clara Barton Birthplace, 68 Clara Barton Road, North Oxford,
Massachusetts 01537. Clara Barton was born in this house on Christmas
Day, 1821, the youngest child of Stephen and Sally Barton. The house,
which had been built shortly before her birth, is now a museum and
contains memorabilia of Clara Barton and her family. The house is open
from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday in July and August. The
remainder of the year it is open only by appointment, primarily for
school and private groups. A fee is charged.

    [Illustration: Bedroom in Clara Barton birthplace]

Johnstown Flood Museum, 304 Washington Street, Johnstown, Pennsylvania
15901. The museum chronicles the events of the disastrous flood of 1889.
Special exhibits detail the role of Clara Barton and the American Red
Cross. Here the new organization first demonstrated its ability to
respond to a major disaster. The museum continues to work closely with
the local chapter of the American Red Cross in maintaining a record of
the organization’s relief through the years in this flood-prone valley.
The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and from
12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sundays. It is closed January 1, Memorial
Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and December 25. A fee is charged;
group rates are available.

    [Illustration: Johnstown Flood Museum]

Manuscript Reading Room, Library of Congress, 10 First Street, SE,
Washington, D.C. 20540. In the 1930s the Hubbell sisters were doing some
remodeling on the Clara Barton House. In the process they discovered a
boarded-up corridor between two bedrooms. When the corridor was reopened
they found the area filled with Clara Barton’s personal papers, diaries,
scrapbooks, and other memorabilia of her life and career. Who put them
there remains unknown. The two sisters presented the entire cache to the
Library of Congress. The collection has been sorted and indexed and is
available for the use of scholars only.

    [Illustration: Library of Congress]

         Armchair Explorations: Some Books You May Want to Read

  Barton, Clara. _A Story of the Red Cross; Glimpses of Field Work._ New
          York: D. Appleton and Company, 1904.
  ——. _The Story of My Childhood._ New York: The Baker and Taylor
          Company, 1907.
  Barton, William E. _The Life of Clara Barton._ 2 vols. Boston:
          Houghton Mifflin, 1922.
  Dulles, Foster Rhea. _The American Red Cross: A History._ New York:
          Harper, 1950.
  Dunant, Jean-Henri. _A Memory of Solferino._ Washington, D.C.: The
          American National Red Cross, 1939.
  Fishwick, Marshall. _Illustrious Americans: Clara Barton._ Morristown,
          New Jersey: Silver-Burdett, 1966.
  Flexner, Eleanor. _Century of Struggle: The Women’s Rights Movement in
          the United States._ Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974.
  Leech, Margaret. _Reveille in Washington, 1860-1865._ New York:
          Harper, 1941.
  Ross, Ishbel. _Angel of the Battlefield._ New York: Harper and
          Brothers, 1956.

  ★ GPO: 1981—341-611/1

  Stock Number 024-005-00806-3.

  For sale by the Superintendent of Documents,
  U.S. Government Printing Office,
  Washington, DC 20402


             _Numbers in italics refer to photographs or illustrations._

  American Equal Rights Association, 32
  American Red Cross, 27, 42;
      disaster relief, 6, 11, 33, 34, 48-59 _passim_, 77;
      headquarters, 6-7, 13, 52, 68-71, 76;
      photos, _51_, _56_, _68-69_, _71_;
      under Clara Barton’s leadership, 11, 45, 46, 48-50, 52, 54,
  Andersonville National Historic Site, 6, 33, _72-73_
  Anthony, Susan B., 7, _10_, 43, 62
  Antietam National Battlefield, 6, 25, _72_
  Appia, Louis, 10, 11, 35, 39, 43
  Atwater, Dorence, 33-34, 72

  Baltzley brothers, 68
  Barton, Clarissa (Clara) Harlow, 16, 18, 42, 59, 62-64;
      and International Red Cross, 43-46, 52;
      and women’s rights, 7, 18, 20, 43, 52-53, 62;
      as American Red Cross leader, 8, 11, 13, 45-59 _passim_;
      as lecturer, 34, 44, 52-53;
      biography, 8-13, 16-17, 42, 64, 76;
      European travels, 35-37, 40-42;
      health, 20-21, 34, 36, 40, 42;
      memorabilia and papers, 6, 60-61, 71, 77;
      other careers, 17-18, 20, 21-22, 31, 52;
      personality, 16, 17, 26-36 _passim_, 43, 46, 47-48, 54, 56;
      photos, _8_, _46_, _53_, _64-65_;
      publications, 10, 12, 13, 43, 44, 56, 62-63;
      relief activities, 11, 12, 13, 22-34 _passim_, 54-56, 72, 74;
      retirement, 59, 62-64
  Barton Birthplace, Clara, _76_
  Barton Memorial Association, Clara, 70
  Barton National Historic Site, Clara, 68, 13, 52, 70-71;
      photos _12_, _68-69_
  Barton, David (brother), 16, _19_, 30
  Barton, Dolly (sister), 17
  Barton, Edward, 19
  Barton, Julia, 17
  Barton, Sally (sister), 17, 42
  Barton, Sarah Stone (mother), _16_
  Barton, Stephen (father), _19_, 23
  Barton, Stephen (brother), 16, 19, 30
  Barton, William E., 47
  Beaver, James A., 50, 52
  Bellows, Henry, 36, _43_, 45
  Blackwell, Elizabeth, 9
  Boardman, Mabel, _13_, 57, 58
  Bowles, Charles, 36, 43
  Butler, Benjamin, _31_, 52

  Civil War:, battles, 6, 23, 25, 30, _72_, 73;
      relief work, 22-23, 25-29, 30-32
  Clinton Liberal Institute, 9, 18

  Dix, Dorothea, _27_, 29
  Dunant, Jean-Henri, 13, _35_-36, 38-39, 44

  Franco-Prussian War, 10, 37, _40-41_, 43
  Frank sisters, 70
  Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial
          National Military Park, 6, 25, _73_
  Friends of Clara Barton, 13, 70, 71
  Freedmen, 32-33

  Gage, Frances Dana, 27, _44_
  Geneva Convention. _See_ Treaty of Geneva
  Glen Echo house. _See_ Clara Barton National Historic Site
  Graves, Lucy, 55

  Harris, Joel Chandler, 57
  Hirons, Mabelle Rawson, 70
  Hubbell, Julian, 41, 47, 48, 68, 70;
      photos _10_, _64-65_
  Hubbell cousins, 70

  Johnstown flood, 6, 12, 50, _51_, 52, 68, _74_, _77_

  Lapham, Elbridge, 45
  Lincoln, Abraham, _9_, 22, 33
  Logan, Mrs. John, 70
  Louise, Grand Duchess of Baden, _10_, 37, 42, 47, 50, 60, 61

  Manassas National Battlefield Park, 74.
      _See also_ Civil War battles
  Margot, Antoinette, 36, 40, 42, 46
  Moynier, Gustav, 39, 45

  Napoleon III, _37_, 38, 43
  National First Aid Society, 13, 59, 62
  National Park Service, 6, 13, 71
  Noyes, Josephine Frank, 70

  Red Cross, International, 10, 11, 35, 36, 40, 43, 52, 60
  Red Cross Relief Committee of New York, 54, 55
  Roosevelt National Historic Site, Eleanor, _75_
  Roosevelt, Theodore, 55, 58, _59_

  Sears, W.H., 70
  Second Manassas, 6, 23, _74_
  Sewall-Belmont House National Historic Site, _75_
  Shepard, Hannah, 44
  _Souvenir de Solferino, Un_, 35, 36, 38, 39, 44
  Spanish-American War, 33
  Stanton, Edwin M., 72
  Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, _10_, 18
  Stone, Elvira, 18, 20, 36

  Treaty of Geneva, 35-46 _passim_, 60.
      _See also_ International Red Cross
  Tubman, Harriet, _9_

  U.S. Christian Commission, 27, 29
  U.S. Sanitary Commission, 26, 27, 36, 57

  Walker National Historic Site, Maggie L., _75_
  Welles, C.M., 25
  Whitman, Walt, 27, _29_
  Wilhelm I, Kaiser, _37_, 60
  Williams, Sophia W.R., 57
  Wilson, Henry, 21, 23, 30, 32, 42
  Women’s rights, 7, 8, 32, 44, 62;
      and Clara Barton, 18, 20, 43, 52-53


[1]_From Clara Barton’s poem, “The Women Who Went to the Field.”_

                         National Park Service

The National Park Service expresses its appreciation to all those who
made the preparation and production of this handbook possible.


Elizabeth Brown Pryor, who wrote Part 2, is a professional historian.
She is the author of several journal and magazine articles on
nineteenth-century America and lives in Washington, D.C.


The artwork on the cover and on the three double pages introducing the
different sections of the book is by Mark English of Fairway, Kansas.

  American Red Cross  11 steamboats, 13 Boardman, 39, and 64-65.
  Clara Barton Birthplace  76 birthplace.
  Johnstown Flood Museum  77 museum.
  Library of Congress  8, 9, 10 Anthony, Stanton, and Louise of Baden,
          11 Hayes, Garfield, and Arthur, 12 Wald and Adams, 16, 19, 21,
          24, 27, 28, 29, 31, 32, 35, 37, 40-41, 43, 44, 46, 51, 53, 56,
  Museum of Modern Art  59.
  New York Public Library  22.
  Robert Shafer  68, 69, 71, 75 Sewall-Belmont, 76 American Red Cross,
          77 Library of Congress.
  Smithsonian Institution  12 ambulance.

All other photographs come from the files of Clara Barton National
Historic Site and the National Park Service.

                    U.S. Department of the Interior

As the Nation’s principal conservation agency, the Department of the
Interior has responsibility for most of our nationally owned public
lands and natural resources. This includes fostering the wisest use of
our land and water resources, protecting our fish and wildlife,
preserving the environmental and cultural values of our national parks
and historical places, and providing for the enjoyment of life through
outdoor recreation. The Department assesses our energy and mineral
resources and works to assure that their development is in the best
interest of all our people. The Department also has a major
responsibility for American Indian reservation communities and for
people who live in island territories under U.S. administration.

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—Relocated all image captions to be immediately under the corresponding
  images, removing redundant references like ”preceding page”.

—Silently corrected a few palpable typos.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.