Clara Barton

(1821-1912):

"The Angel of the Battlefield"

 

Clara Barton

Clara Barton: "The Angel of the Battlefield"

Clarissa "Clara" Harlowe Barton- (1821-1912)

Clarissa "Clara" Barton is best known as the founder of the American Red Cross. She began her lifetime of helping others at the beginning of the Civil War, when she organized medical care for Union troops wounded in the Baltimore Riots of 1861.

Born into a middle-class family in Oxford Massachusetts, she entered into a typical middle-class career for a woman at the time as a school teacher. When the war began, she was living in Washington D.C. , working as a clerk in the U.S. Patent Office, (at the time, she was the first woman to hold the important clerkship position in the Federal government), when she saw the need to help wounded soldiers. Prior to Barton's work with wounded soldiers, the military had never allowed female nurses in army camps or hospitals. She accompanied the U.S. Army as it marched and fought in Virginia, nursing the wounded soldiers at great risk to her own life. In one battle, a bullet passed through the sleeve of her dress, killing the wounded man she was helping. While with the army, she contracted typhoid fever, but later recovered.

 

Her efforts to bring better medical care and to help locate missing servicemen laid the groundwork for her future role as the founder and leader of the American Red Cross, which she began in 1881. Her drive to create an American chapter of the Red Cross, came during a trip to Europe, which began in 1869. While there, she learned of the International Red Cross, an organization to which the United States did not belong . Observing Red Cross volunteers at work with the wounded during the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War (see Franco-German Wars), she saw the need for the United States to form its own branch of the Red Cross. One feature of the U.S. Red Cross that she added to the original role as a source of wartime aid, was the idea of Red Cross assistance in times of natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods.

Under Clara Barton's leadership, the American Red Cross's early peacetime work included helping victims of of the Mississippi and Ohio River floods in 1882 and 1884, the Texas famine of 1886, the yellow fever epidemic in 1887 in Florida, an Illinois earthquake in 1888, and the now-famous 1889 Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood. Through Barton's and the Red Cross's peacetime work, other countries saw need for such peacetime aid and the Geneva Convention adopted the so-called "American Amendment" to its charter in 1884 to make peacetime work part of the purpose of the International Red Cross. The American Red Cross first experience in war was in the Spanish-American War of 1898. In her career after the Civil War, she also travelled the country giving speeches, for which she was paid quite well. Her friendship with Susan B. Anthony and Julia Ward Howe led her to support the women's suffrage movement. She also supported civil rights for freed African-Americans after the war.

She ran the Red Cross until retiring in 1904. She died in Glen Echo, Maryland on April 12, 1912.


Advertise on this website

Your Ad Could Be Working For You On This Page!

Links and Resources

Internet Links:

Clara Barton National Historic Site --From the National Park Services. Provides information on the Glen Echo house which served as Barton's home, the headquarters for the American Red Cross, and a warehouse for disaster relief supplies. Includes biography, images, and lesson plans.

Clara Barton Fansite--

Testimony of Clara Barton to Congress -Testifies during the 39th Congress concerning her experiences and observations while working in Andersonville, Georgia. Her testimony is recorded in the Reports of the Committees of the House of Representatives on February 21, 1866.

Clara Barton in Dansville --Traces Barton's service during the years of 1866 and 1876-1886.

Clara Barton: American Humanitarian

Life Stories of Civil War Heroes: Clara Barton --Biography of the nurse and founder of the American Red Cross.

Profiles in Caring: Clara Barton --Tribute to the woman who was known during the U.S. Civil War as the Angel of the Battlefield.

Spectrum Biography: Clara Barton

Copyright 1998-2013 Roger A. Lee and History Guy Media; Last Modified 06.01.13

"The History Guy" is a Registered Trademark.

 

Contact the webmaster

Personal Data

Role in the war years: Clara Barton organized relief efforts for wounded Union soldiers. She worked as a nurse, and worked to bring better medical care for the wounded. She also began efforts to locate soldiers missing in action.

Soldiers called her "The Angel of the Battlefield," for her nursing work.

 

Date of Birth: December 25, 1821

Date of Death: April 12, 1912

Occupation: Nurse

Pre-War: School Teacher, Founder of a free public school in Bordentown, New Jersey, first female clerk in the U.S. Patent Office

Post-War: Nurse, Founder of the American Red Cross

 

 

World Biography-More pages on contemporaries of Clara Barton.

Clara Barton-- The "Angel of the Battlefield" who brought nursing care to wounded soldiers during the Civil War and later founded the American Red Cross.

Mathew Brady-- The "Father of Photojournalism" whose photos of Civil War battlefields brought the horrors of war home to civilians on the homefront.

Dr. Benjamin Rush-- Signer of the Declaration of Independence, member of the Constitutional Convention, noted physician and ardent supporter for the abolition of slavery.

Thomas Nast-American political cartoonist.

General George Armstrong Custer-- Famous American Cavalry officer who died at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.

General Robert E. Lee-- The commanding general for the South in the American Civil War.--New

Lorenzo de Zavala--First Vice-President of the Republic of Texas.

Frederick Douglass-- The famous orator, author, and champion against slavery.

 

About Us

Bio of the History Guy

Commentary

Site Map--revision in progress

 

Historyguy Main Page

Politics Main Page

New & Recent Conflicts
   A chronicle of newer and more recent conflicts and wars from around the globe

War and Conflict Links
   A listing of wars and war pages on the History Guy site
   

Comics History

  Portal for pages on the history of comics and superhero characters

Nations of the World

  Portal for pages on the nations of the world

Military History

  Portal for pages on military history

War Lists

   Lists of wars throughout history and from around the world

Biofiles

   Biographical files on individuals who impact American politics, culture, business, education and other arenas of life in the United States.
    

Governments of the World

   Pages on the governmental systems of selected nations.

U.S. Politics

United States national government and politics.

 What's New

The latest changes to the History Guy site.

About Us   

Information on the History Guy, the origin of the website, along with commentaries and a site map.

 Advertise on this Website

 


Copyright 1998-2013 Roger A. Lee and History Guy Media; Last Modified: 06.01.13

"The History Guy" is a Registered Trademark.

Historyguy.com Search Engine

Join the FREE Historyguy Update list. Receive regular updates delivered right to your inbox.

Email Marketing You Can Trust