Saturday, May 21, 2011

Happy Birthday


May 21st, 1881: "In Washington, D.C., humanitarians Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons found the American National Red Cross, an organization established to provide humanitarian aid to victims of wars and natural disasters in congruence with the International Red Cross.

Barton, born in Massachusetts in 1821, worked with the sick and wounded during the American Civil War and became known as the "Angel of the Battlefield" for her tireless dedication. In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln commissioned her to search for lost prisoners of war, and with the extensive records she had compiled during the war she succeeded in identifying thousands of the Union dead at the Andersonville prisoner-of-war camp.

She was in Europe in 1870 when the Franco-Prussian War broke out, and she went behind the German lines to work for the International Red Cross. In 1873, she returned to the United States, and four years later she organized an American branch of the International Red Cross. The American Red Cross received its first U.S. federal charter in 1900. Barton headed the organization into her 80s and died in 1912."

During the Spanish-American War she was nursing the grandsons of the boys she'd tended during the Civil War. Conventional wisdom says mid-19th century women were oppressed, tightly-corseted playthings who couldn't say boo to a goose, but from everything I've read about Barton, she was a pistol.


Packrat said...

Thank God for Miss Barton and other women like her.

Random, but one of my G-G-Grandfathers was a prisoner at Andersonville. He somehow somehow survived and made it back home.

Kate/Massachusetts said...

My g-g-grandaunt was a friend of Clara's living in Worcester Massachusetts. She was also a nurse, and she sent everything she earned to Clara (much to the complaints of the family!) In Clara's biography you will read about her "friends in Worcester" making her clothes as well. I found this out recently when my sister was researching our family. It meant a lot to me to find that connection since I am too a nurse!

After the Civil War, there were a phenomenal number of girls named Clara in tribute to what she did for their fathers.

Ladytats said...

Yeah for Clara, who knows how many of us would be here without her. at least one of my g-G-grandfathers fought in the Civil War as well.