Clara Barton's Life

  • Birth

    Oxford, MA
    Clarissa Harlowe Barton
    youngest of Stephen and Sarah Stone Barton’s five children.
  • Period: to


    local schools and through home tutoring from her older brothers and sisters.
  • Period: to

    cared for her brother David Barton

    injured and bedridden following a fall from a barn roof.
  • Parents advised that she should teach

    Noted English phrenologist L. N. Fowler
  • passed examinations and began a teaching career

    the schools near Oxford, Massachusetts.
  • established a school

    for the children of her brother’s mill workers.
  • sister, Dorothea (Dolly) Barton, died

  • Period: to

    Clinton Liberal Institute, Oneida County, New York.

    furthering her own education
  • mother, Sarah Barton, died

  • travelled to Hightstown, New Jersey

    visit Mary Norton, a school friend. Miss Bartn resumed her teaching career.
  • Period: to

    established the first free public school in Bordentown, New Jersey

    Enrollment grew rapidly and a male principal was hired. Miss Barton left Bordentown and the teaching profession
  • Period: to

    moved to Washington, DC

    worked as a recording clerk at the U. S. Patent Office for Charles Mason, the Commissioner of Patents. Her salary, $1,400 per anum, equalled those of the men she worked with- a first
  • Period: to

    Worked as a copyist

    The status of female government workers was never a certainty. Secretary of the Interior Robert McClelland of the Pierce administration was opposed to women working in government offices and reduced Miss Barton to a copyist at the rate of 10 cents per each 100 words copied.
  • Period: to

    returned to Massachusetts

    lived with relatives and friends after her position at the Patent Office was eliminated by the administration of President James Buchanan
  • Returned to Washington, DC

    former Patent Office position as a copyist with the election of President Abraham Lincoln.
  • Period: to

    Civil War

  • Riots in Baltimore, Maryland

    En route to defend the nation’s capital, the 6th Massachusetts Infantry was attacked by mobs of southern-sympathizing Baltimoreans as the soldiers marched across town. They arrived in Washington, DC, beaten and with several members of their regiment dead. Miss Barton found them temporarily quartered in the Senate Chamber of the US Capitol and provided supplies from her own household for their comfort. The overwhelming response to her request for additional supplies for the troops marked the st
  • Battle of First Manassas (Bull Run), Virginia

    tended to wounded soldiers as they arrived in Washington, DC. She established a distribution agency after receiving additional supplies sent in response to an advertisement in the Worcester Spy.
  • father, Stephen Barton, died in North Oxford, Massachusetts

    On his deathbed, he encouraged Clara Barton to continue her patriotic support for the Union.
  • gained official permission to transport supplies to battlefields

    eventually reaching some of the grimmest battlefields of the war and serving during the Siege of Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia.
  • Battle of Cedar Mountain (Culpepper), Virginia

    This was the first documented battle at which Clara Barton served in the field. Arriving on August 13, she spent two days and nights tending the wounded. Before leaving, she provided assistance at a field hospital for Confederate prisoners
  • Period: to

    Battle of Second Manassas (Bull Run), Virginia

  • Battle of Chantilly, Virginia

    Arriving at Fairfax Station after the Battle of Second Manassas, Miss Barton tended to the wounded and prepared the injured for evacuation by train to Washington, DC.
  • Period: to

    travelled with the Army of the Potomac

    as it pursued the retreating Confederates into Virginia. She provided aid to the wounded at several minor skirmishes and accompanied patients to hospitals in Washington, DC.
  • Battle of South Mountain, Maryland

    aided the wounded at battles near Harper’s Ferry and South Mountain.
  • Battle of Antietam, Maryland

    & her wagons arrived on the field with the Army of the Potomac prior to battle. provided surgeons with desperately needed medical supplies. During the battle she was nearly killed when a bullet passed through the sleeve of her dress, killing the wounded man she attended. Although lacking medical training, at the insistence of a wounded soldier, she extracted a bullet from his cheek, using her pocket knife. Working for several days following the conflict, she was weakened by typhoid fever
  • Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia

    assisted in a hospital of the IX Corps, which was established at the Lacy House (Chatham Manor). She remained in the field through most of the month, following the route of the Union Army.
  • Period: to

    returned to Washington, DC

    to collect supplies and to recuperate
  • arrived at Hilton Head, South Carolina

    preparation for the anticipated bombardment of Charleston. She joined Captain David Barton, her brother and an Army Quartermaster, and Steven E. Barton, her fifteen year old nephew who was serving in the military telegraph office. She met and befriended Colonel John J. Elwell.
  • met Frances D. Gage in South Carolina

    worked to educate former slaves and prepare them for their life beyond slavery. Miss Barton developed an interest in the growing movement for equal rights among women and African Americans.
  • Siege of Ft. Wagner, South Carolina

    helped to establish field hospitals and distributed supplies following the failed assaults.
  • Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House near Fredericksburg, Virginia

    arranged for the opening of private homes for the care of wounded with the assistance of Senator Henry Wilson, chairman of the Military Affairs Committee
  • wounded poured in to Fredericksburg

    from the overland campaigns advancing upon Richmond
  • given charge of field hospitals

    placed in charge of diet and nursing at a X Corps hospital near Point of Rocks, Virginia, appointed by Army of the James Commander Major General Benjamin F. Butler. The "flying hospital" served the wounded from the almost daily fighting outside Petersburg
  • Geneva, Switzerland

    first Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded in Armies in the Field is held. The International Committee of the Red Cross was established. Clara Barton is unaware of this event and the United States does not join the organization
  • Period: to

    cared for her dying brother, Stephen Barton

  • won the approval of President Abraham Lincoln

    With the assistance of Senator Wilson, to address the problem of large numbers of missing soldiers. By authority of the President, she established The Office of Correspondence with Friends of the Missing Men of the United States Army on March 11. Recognition by the War Department followed two months later. She directed a four-year search for missing men.
  • Andersonville, Georgia

    Aided largely by records kept by prison survivor Dorance Atwater, Miss Barton assisted in the locating and marking of nearly 13,000 Union grave
  • Andersonville National Cemetery

    She raised the US flag at the dedicatio
  • Period: to

    delivered over 200 lectures

    throughout the northeast and midwest regarding her Civil War experiences. She shared platforms with other prominent figures including Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Lloyd Garrison, and Mark Twain. She often earned $75 to $100 per lecture.
  • testified during the 39th Congress

    about her experience in Andersonville
  • reimbursed $15K

    for expenses associated with her search for missing men.
  • met Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony

    The resulting friendships aligned Miss Barton with the suffrage movement.
  • lost her voice

    while delivering a speech from fatigue and mental prostration
  • closed The Office of Correspondence

    with Friends of the Missing Men of the United States Army, having received and answered 63,182 letters and identified 22,000 missing men
  • travelled to Europe

    On the advice of her doctor, to regain her health. While visiting Switzerland, she met Dr. Louis Appia, and, for the first time, read about the International Red Cross
  • Period: to

    Franco-Prussian War

    Napoleon III declared war on Prussia and its German allies
  • met and established a lifelong freindship with the Grand Duchess Louise of Baden

    daughter of Kaiser Wilhelm I. Under the sponsorship of the Grand Duchess and the International Red Cross, Miss Barton left for the besieged city of Strasbourg, France. She met Antoinette Margot, who became her co-worker, travelling companion, and translator. In Strasbourg, they organized relief efforts and established sewing factories in order to provide clothing for the residents and employment for women.
  • directed relief work

    Paris for six weeks, established workrooms in Lyon, and provided assistance in Besançon and Belfort.
  • in charge of directing supplies to the destitute people of Paris

    Was decorated with the golden cross of Baden and the iron cross of Germany for her relief efforts during and after the war
  • Period: to

    traveled to England

    suffered from nervous exhaustion and temporarily lost her eyesight. attemptted to recuperate.
  • movement to get International Committee of the Red Cross recognized

    success under President Chester Arthur
  • returned to the United States

    but nervous strain continued to plague her. Her condition worsened after her sister, Sally Barton Vassall, died
  • Barton's sister, Sally Barton Vassall, died.

  • moved to Dansville, New York

    first to a sanitarium and later to her own home. Relaxation, a healthful diet, and congenial company allowed her to regain her health. She met Julian Hubbell, a chemistry teacher, who eventually became her most devoted follower
  • Period: to

    educated the public and garneried support

    concentrated on educating the public and garnering support for an American society of the Red Cross. She wrote and distributed the pamphlet, The Red Cross of the Geneva Convention. What It Is. She met with President Rutherford B. Hayes to inform him about the Red Cross and enlisted the aid of friends to help publicize the organization
  • American Association of the Red Cross was formed

    This first meeting was in Miss Barton's apartment in Washington, DC
  • elected president of American Red Cross

  • Michigan - Forest Fires

    Some 1.5 million acres were destroyed and nearly 500 lives were lost in just over 5 hours. The American Red Cross assisted in rebuilding more than 50 dwellings and distributed tons of aid material. Julian Hubbell directed the effort as the first chief field agent
  • first local Society of the American Association of the Red Cross

    organized in Dansville, New York. Over the next few months, additional chapters were formed in other towns and cities
  • America joined the International Red Cross

    President Chester A. Arthur signed the Treaty of Geneva. Following unanimous ratification by the Senate, America joined the International Red Cross
  • Mississippi River Floods

    directed American Red Cross relief work during flooding along the Mississippi River and its tributaries, while aboard the ship Mattie Belle.
  • Mississippi River Floods

    directed American Red Cross relief work during flooding along the Mississippi River and its tributaries, while aboard the ship Mattie Belle.
  • appointed superintendent of the Massachusetts Reformatory Prison for Women

    Sherborn. She accepted the temporary position at the request of Governor Benjamin F. Butler, but resigned after eight months. She spoke at the International Conference on Prison Reform held in Saratoga, New York.
  • Period: to

    numerous lectures promoting the Red Cross

  • Ohio River Floods

    Severe flooding left over 5,000 families homeless. Miss Barton directed the relief effort and the American Red Cross distributed $175,000 in cash and supplies.
  • Europe

    one of three U.S. delegates to the International Conference of the Red Cross at Geneva, Switzerland. The "American Amendment," which allowed the Red Cross to provide peacetime disaster relief, was adopted due in large part to Miss Barton's innovations with the American Red Cross.
  • Dansville, New York, Typhoid Fever Epidemic

    The American Red Cross provided financial and medical assistance to the stricken town.
  • Galveston, Texas Fires

    Railroads provided free transportation as the American Red Cross donated supplies, including 130 barrels of flour
  • Balkan War Relief

    At the request of the International Red Cross, American societies provided financial assistance during the Bulgarian and Serbian War. The Depauw and St. Louis Red Cross Societies in Missouri provided $500 and $200, respectively
  • moved to Washington, DC.

  • San Francisco, California

    attended the National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)
  • Charleston, South Carolina, Earthquake

    travelled to the scene and the American Red Cross donated $500. Offers were made by Miss Barton for additional assistance, but were not accepted.
  • Central Texas, Drought

    Miss Barton's report of the situation motivated the state legislature to send $100,000 to the stricken area.
  • National Drill and Encampment in Washington, DC

    volunteers the services of the American Red Cross. Within 6 days, 200 cases of illness were treated in a mobile hospital.
  • delegate to the International Congress of the Red Cross at Carlsruhe, Germany.

  • Period: to

    attended meetings

    various women's suffrage associations and spoke at several rallies in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. She served as a vice president and was a featured speaker of the First International Woman's Suffrage Conference in Washington, DC.
  • Mount Vernon, Illinois, Tornado

    assisted 3,000 homeless by providing food, shelter, and clothing.
  • brother, David Barton, died

  • Jacksonville, Florida, Yellow Fever Epidemic

    visited affected areas and coordinated relief with the Howard Association. Red Cross nurses immune to the disease were provided by the New Orleans chapter.
  • Johnstown, Pennsylvania Flood

    arrived to direct relief operations after over 2,000 died and thousands more were left homeless. During four months of work, over $200,000 in supplies and $39,000 in cash were provided. This disaster relief program became the most celebrated effort in the early history of the American Red Cross.
  • Period: to

    Red Cross efforts

    Red Cross provided disaster relief following fires in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a drought in South Dakota, and severe storms across Kentucky, Texas, and Iowa
  • building was constructed in Glen Echo, MD

    as part of Edwin and Edward Baltzley's Chautauqua in Glen Echo, Maryland, a few miles northwest of Washington, DC. The building was primarily used as a Red Cross warehouse for several years.
  • wrote The Women Who Went to the Field.

  • Russian Famine Relief

    Supervised by Clara Barton and Julian Hubbell, the American Red Cross sponsored its first overseas operation. Flour and cornmeal shipments fed 7,000
  • Period: to

    Sea Islands, South Carolina, Hurricane

    After a hurricane and tidal wave left over 5,000 dead, the American Red Cross labored for ten months to aid the predominantly African American population of the barrier islands.
  • Armenian Famine Relief, Ottoman Empire

    travelled to Istanbul and supervised the relief of the starving and sick through the encouragment of more advanced farming techniques and hygiene practices. Miss Barton distributed over $115,000 in aid despite the hostile conditions presented by the Ottoman-Armenian conflict. Opened the first Red Cross in Turkey
  • Glen Echo, Maryland

    warehouse in Glen Echo, Maryland, became Clara Barton's permanent residence and national headquarters for the American Red Cross. She remodeled and occuppied the house until her death
  • directed American Red Cross relief work in Cuban reconcentrado camps

  • Explosion of the U. S. S. Maine

    "I am with the wounded," Clara Barton telegraphed President William McKinley following the explosion of the USS Maine. The blast killed 266 crew members. Two days earlier, she had dined aboard the ship with Captain Charles Sigsbee.
  • Spanish-American War

    continued to coordinate civilian relief, established orphanages, and supported military hospitals. The first relief ship to enter the harbor of Santiago following its surrender was The State of Texas, with Miss Barton and Red Cross workers on board. She also met Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and provided supplies for wounded Rough Riders following skirmishes near Siboney Bay.
  • elected honorary president of The National Society of the Spanish War

    resigned from the position after learning from Susan B. Anthony that the society did not accept African American members
  • Published 'The Red Cross in Peace and War'

  • incorporation of American National Red Cross

  • Relief for Galveston, TX hurricane

    last major field relief effort in the wake of a storm that left 6,000 dead. In a two-month period, the operation distributed $120,000 worth of money and supplies, as well as 1.5 million strawberry plants.
  • Arrive in Galveston, TX

    Last field operation as president of American Red Cross
  • elected President for life of American Red Cross

  • led the US delegation to the Seventh International Conference of the Red Cross in St. Petersburg, Russia

  • establised Department of First Aid for the Injured

  • Typhoid Fever Epidemic of Butler, PA

    distributed supplies, and then turned the relief project over to local authorities
  • Resigned as president of American Red Cross

  • published 'A Story of the Red Cross'

  • established National First Aid Association of America

    first aid instruction, emergency preparedness, and developed first aid kits. Ambulance brigades were formed in conjunction with police and fire departments
  • Published 'The Story of my Childhood'

  • Death

    Glen Echo, MD