Background Information
Date Of Birth: Christmas day, 1821
“The door that nobody else will go in at, seems always to swing open widely for me.” ~Clara Barton

Date Of Death: April 12, 1912

Clara Barton was born to Stephen and Sarah Barton in Oxford, Massachusetts. She
was the youngest of five children by about ten years, and because of this was raised as an only child. Her father Stephen worked as a farmer and horse breeder and her mother Sarah maintained the household. Clara's father often recollected stories about his war experiences, and her brothers taught her to horseback ride and to do other boyish activities. At a young age, Clara nursed her brother back to health after he had been in an accident. She had always been exceptionally shy, and so her parents decided to have her teach so that she might overcome her shyness at just sixteen. She established the first New Jersey free public school. Her Universalist beliefs played a large role in her life.

Influence On American History

During the Civil War, Barton organized a group which would care for and distribute supplies to wounded soldiers. She was also sent on a mission to find missing soldiers of the Union Army by President Lincoln himself. Clara assisted the injured in both the North and the South, pra
An example of a doctor's tent during the Civil War.
cticing a policy of neutrality. She distributed lectures regarding her war experiences, and was involved in the movement for women's suffrage with Susan B. Anthony. Clara became an abolitionist after meeting Frederick Douglas as well. While in Europe, Barton became associated with the International Committee of the Red Cross, and when she returned to the United States she worked to gain support for the American section of the Red Cross.


Clara Barton formed the American Red Cross, and won approval for the Geneva Conventions. This allowed her to create an organization which could help those who were wounded in battle as well as those affected by tragic events such as natural disasters. Clara was involved in the women's suffrage and abolitionist movements. She opened the very first American International Red Cross headquarters in Beijing, China. Barton helped those in need all over the world, whether in a time of war or in the event of a natural disaster.

American Red Cross buidling
American Red Cross logo

Supporters and Critics

Clara received a wide variety of support. Those who were in the military, such as commanding generals supported and were grateful for her efforts. Abolitionists and women's rights activists also acknowledged her deeds. Some individuals who were associated with Clara Barton include Frederick Douglas, an abolitionist and Susan B. Anthony an advocate for women's rights.

However, Barton also had critics. Those who criticized her included various people who felt that her management style, age and business sense were not to the standards in which they should have been.

Other Facts

In 1864, Clara Barton was deemed the 'lady in charge' of the hospitals at the front of the Army of the James (a Union army). In 1865, President Lincoln placed her in charge of finding missing men of the Union army. She became known as the 'Angel of the Battlefield". With Dorence Atwater she became known as one of the 'Angels of Andersonville' because of the work that they did concerning those deceased in the Civil War. When the United States accepted her proposal for the American section of the Red Cross, the nation gained the 'Good Samaritan of Nations' label.

Resources used

Wikipedia, Clara Barton
Think exist, Clara Barton Quotes
American Civil War, Clara Barton Civil War Nurse
The Extra Mile, Clara Barton