Clara Barton (founder and 1st President of the American Red Cross)

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Clara Barton (founder and 1st President of the American Red Cross)'s Geni Profile

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Clarissa Harlowe "Clara" Barton

Also Known As: "Clara", "Clara Barton"
Birthplace: North Oxford, Oxford, Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States
Death: April 12, 1912 (90)
Glen Echo, Montgomery County, Maryland, United States
Place of Burial: Oxford, Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Capt Steven Barton and Sarah Barton
Sister of Dorothy Barton; Captain Stephen L. Barton, Jr.; Sarah Vassall and Capt. David Barton, USA

Occupation: Founder of the American Red Cross
Managed by: Geoffrey David Trowbridge
Last Updated:

About Clara Barton (founder and 1st President of the American Red Cross)

Soul Sister: Maria Mercedes Contreras Pulido

Held DAR membership #160 as "Descendant of David Stone, of Massechusetts"

Wikipedia Biographical Summary:

Clara Barton (1821-1912)

"...was a pioneer American teacher, nurse, and humanitarian. She is best remembered for organizing the American Red Cross..."

"...Clarissa Harlowe Barton was born on December 25, 1821, in Oxford, Massachusetts, to Stephen and Sarah Barton. She was the youngest of five children. Clara's father was a farmer and horse breeder (who also served as a captain in the French and Indian Wars), while her mother Sarah managed the household. The two later helped found the first Universalist Church in Oxford..."

"...On April 21, 1861, nine days after the start of the Civil War, Barton tended to wounded Massachusetts soldiers quartered in the U.S. Senate chamber in Washington..."

"...In 1864 she was appointed by Union General Benjamin Butler as the "lady in charge" of the hospitals at the front of the Army of the James..."

"...She met Susan B. Anthony and began a long association with the woman's suffrage movement..."

"..In 1869, during her trip to Geneva, Switzerland, Barton was introduced to the Red Cross and Henry Dunant's book A Memory of Solferino, which called for the formation of national societies to provide relief voluntarily on a neutral basis..."

"...Barton ... became President of the American branch of the society, which was founded on May 21, 1881 in Dansville, N.Y.."

".... Although not formally a member of the Universalist Church of America, in a 1905 letter to the widow of Carl Norman Thrasher, she identified herself with her parents' church as a "Universalist”.."

"...In 1975, Clara Barton National Historic Site was established as a unit of the National Park Service at Barton's Glen Echo, Maryland home, where she spent the last 15 years of her life..."

SOURCE: Wikipedia contributors, 'Clara Barton', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 7 June 2011, 03:25 UTC, <> [accessed 21 June 2011]


"People should not say that this or that is not worth learning, giving as their reason that it will not be put to use. They can no more know what information they will need in the future than they will know the weather two hundred years from today." --Clara Barton

"An institution that is not selfish must originate in the recognition of some evil that is adding to the sum of human suffering, or diminishing the sum of happiness." --Clara Barton

"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." --Clara Barton


North Cemetery, Oxford, Worcester, Massachusetts

SOURCE: Find A Grave Memorial# 63.


Clara Barton was born in 1821 in North Oxford, Massachusetts. She is best known for being the founder of the American Red Cross and the National First Aid Society. Barton supported many of the nineteenth-century reform movements that affect our lives even today. In the 1840's and 50's, she supported the public school movement by teaching and establishing free schools. She was an avid supporter of the Black Civil Rights and Women's Rights Movement. Barton worked closely with Frederick Douglas and Susan B. Anthony on these issues. During the Civil War, Barton worked independently to give relief to the wounded in the Union Army at Cedar Mountain, Bull Run, Chantilly, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Hilton Head, the Wilderness, and Petersburg. She performed her work initially without government support or assistance. In 1864, her work was recognized and she was appointed Superintendent of Nurses for the Army of the James. After the war, she worked to locate missing soldiers and led the War Department in the effort to mark over 12,000 Union graves at Andersonville Prison in Georgia.

In 1869, Clara Barton went to Europe. In Europe, she became involved in the International Committee of the Red Cross. Barton returned to the United States and worked diligently to create the American branch of the Red Cross, established in 1881. Barton was 60 years old when she became the first president of the organization. She held this position from 1882 to 1904. While presiding over the Red Cross, she realized that its services could be utilized during peace time as well as in wartime to relieve the needs of those affected by natural disasters and epidemics. Today, the Red Cross continues to carry out Barton's commitment to bringing relief wherever needed.

At the age of 83, she retired from the American Red Cross and established the National First Aid Society. The organization grew rapidly during the last seven years of her life and its mission was later included with that of the American Red Cross.

Barton spent the last fifteen years of her life in Glen Echo, Maryland. She lived in a three story, thirty-eight room building which also served as a dormitory for Red Cross volunteers, warehouse for Red Cross supplies, and the first permanent headquarters of the American Red Cross. The site is now administered by the National Park Service as the Clara Barton Historic Site.

Biography courtesy of the Maryland Commission for Women, 1987.

© Copyright Maryland State Archives, 2001

Founder of the American Red Cross (Angel of the Battlefield). Clara Barton was born on Christmas Day on a farm near Oxford, Massachusetts. She was a teacher and a government worker before heading off to minister the wounds of soldiers, often on bloody civil war battlefields. Barton was so close to the front lines at the Battle of Sharpsburg that a bullet passed through her clothes and killed the wounded soldier she was tending. She came into the missing soldiers business when a prisoner of war brought her a list of dead soldiers from the legendary Andersonville Confederate prison camp in Georgia. Nearly 13,000 of 45,000 confined Union soldiers died of disease, filth, starvation and exposure. Thanks to her work, Barton was able to return to Andersonville and mark the graves of thousands of soldiers, She later published a list of their names. Once people realized she had found dead soldiers, she started receiving thousands of letters from mothers and daughters. As head of the missing persons office, Barton became the first woman to run a government bureau, receiving $15,000 in congressional appropriations and working with her own staff. She went to Europe and visited Switzerland. A group of men called on her and told of an organization called the International Red Cross Committee. Each member wore a badge - a red cross on a white background. On the battlefield the men who wore it were always welcome. Clara Barton came back to the United States and began work toward organization of an American Red Cross. The government agreed to permit such an organization. Barton was the first president and served as its head for twenty-two years. Clara Barton's life finally came to an end when she reached the age of ninety-one. (Bio by John R. Bacak)

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Clara Barton (founder and 1st President of the American Red Cross)'s Timeline

December 25, 1821
Oxford, Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States
April 12, 1912
Age 90
Glen Echo, Montgomery County, Maryland, United States
Oxford, Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States