Clara Barton – angel of the battlefield
Clara Barton was the founder of the American Red Cross. She went down in history as the angel of the battlefield for her work tending to wounded soldiers in the American Civil War. Her work made her a symbol of humanitarianism.
Clara Harlow Barton was born on December 25, 1821 in Oxford, Massachusetts. She was the youngest child in a family. Her father, Stephen Barton, was a farmer and state legislator. The girl was educated at home. At the age of 15 Clara began teaching at nearby schools. Later she taught school in Massachusetts and New Jersey.
In 1853 she was appointed as copyist in the Patent Office in Washington, D.C., becoming the first woman in America to hold such a government post.
In 1861 the American Civil War began. The soldiers were suffering and dying because there were not enough medical supplies. Barton organized a private agency to buy supplies. In 1862 she worked as an unpaid nurse.
In 1869 she went to Geneva, Switzerland, for rest and a change. There, officials of the International Red Cross urged her to seek United States agreement to the Geneva Convention recognizing the work of the Red Cross.
On May 21, 1881 Barton founded the American Red Cross Association in Washington (in 1893 it was renamed – the American Red Cross) and was president of the organization until 1904.
In 1883 Barton served as superintendent of the Women’s Reformatory Prison.
Barton was the initiator of the so-called American Amendment to the Charter of the Red Cross, according to which the organization provides assistance not only during the war, but in the case of famine, epidemics and natural disasters.
Clara attracted volunteers to help victims of natural disasters, the victims of the forest fires in Michigan in 1881, floods in 1882, 1884, and 1889. American Red Cross volunteers helped victims of famine in Russia in 1892.
Clara Barton died on April 12, 1912, Glen Eco, Maryland, USA.
A crater on Venus was named in her honor.