Clara Barton

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Clara Barton



Born: December 25, 1821, in North Oxford, Massachusetts USA.


At 17, Barton became a teacher in Massachusett's District 9, located in Worcester County.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Barton worked as a volunteer. She advertised for supplies and distributed bandages, socks, and other goods to help the wounded soldiers. In 1864, Barton was given the position of superintendent of Union nurses.

During the years following the war, Barton lectured about her war experiences, continued her work at the Office of Correspondence, and worked with the suffragist movement.

However, by 1869, Barton had worked herself into a physical breakdown. She followed her doctor's orders and traveled to Europe to rest and regain her health.

It was during this trip that Barton learned about the Treaty of Geneva, which provided relief for sick and wounded soldiers. Twelve nations had signed the treaty, but the United States had refused. Barton vowed to look into the matter.

When Barton returned to the United States in 1873, she began her crusade for the Treaty of Geneva and the Red Cross. Due to her efforts, the United States signed the Geneva Agreement in 1882.

The American Red Cross organization was formed in 1881, and Barton served as its first president. Barton remained Red Cross president until 1904. During her tenure, she headed up relief work for disasters such as famines, floods, pestilence, and earthquakes in the United States and throughout the world. In 1904, at the age of 82, she resigned her post.


Clara Barton died on April 12, 1912, from complications of a cold.


The mission of her life can be summed up in her own words, "You must never so much as think whether you like it or not, whether it is bearable or not; you must never think of anything except the need, and how to meet it."

  • AII POW-MIA - FaxNetwork - An editorial by Chip Beck comparing Clara Barton and the MIA's with today's Defense MIA Office. 
  • American Red Cross - Clara Barton - Profile from the Virtual Museum.
  • Biography - Clara Barton - A short biographical summary of the life of Clara Barton from
  • Clara Barton - Known as the "Angel of the Battlefield," she also founded the American Red Cross. 
  • Clara Barton - For a brief period, Clara Barton was the superintendent of this Massachusetts prison for women, MCI Framingham, then called the Women's Reformatory. Color photograph of an old section of the prison.
  • Clara Barton - American Treasures - A collection of notes from the Civil war, which document the appalling carnage and medical conditions. 
  • Clara Barton - From the National Association of Investigative Specialists. A story written by Barbara Maikell-Thomas of the "First Official Missing Persons Investigator - Clara Barton".
  • Clara Barton - Angel of the Battlefield - "In my feeble estimation, General McClellan, with all his laurels, sinks into insignificance beside the true heroine of the age, the angel of the battlefield." Dr. James Dunn, surgeon at Antietam Battlefield.
  • Clara Barton in Dansville - Information on Dansville, Livingston County, New York, the country residence of Miss Clara Barton. 
  • Clara Barton (Memory) - American Treasures of the Library of Congress
  • Clara Barton - Notable Women Ancestors - Biography of Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross and cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the conflict during the Civil War. 
  • Clara Barton's Memorabilia - An article from Nurseweek Magazine on the discovery of items dating back to 1860's of previously unknown information on Clara Barton. 
  • Clara Barton's Missing Soldier Office - She established the "Office of Correspondence with the Friends of the Missing Men of the United States Army,". The office identified Union soldiers missing in action. Part of the GSA Historic Preservation Program. 
  • Clara's Heart - Profiles in Citizenship review of Clara Barton, written by Laura Morrow. 
  • Spectrum Home and Life Magazine. Links to more information are provided. 
  • The Biography of Clara Barton (1821-1912) - She is best known as being the founder of the American Red Cross and, prior to this significant achievement, as a nurse who tended to countless wounded soldiers on Civil War battlefields. 
  • The Glass Ceiling Biographies - A biography of Clara Barton from the "Shatter the Glass Ceiling", a working woman's magazine. 
  • Women of The Hall - The National Women's Hall of Fame tribute to Clara Barton.

Last Modified: Thursday May 20, 2010

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