Clara Barton
December 25, 1821 - April 12, 1912

Clarissa Harlowe Barton was born December 25, 1821, in North Oxford, Massachusetts. She was the youngest of five children. Clara's older sisters and brothers taught Clara and helped her with her school work. She did very well in school as a result of their help and became a teacher when she was 17 years old.

After teaching many years, Clara yearned for a change and decided to work at the Patent Office. When the Civil War broke out Clara left the patent office and volunteered to bring supplies to the soldiers who were fighting on the front line. Some soldiers called her the "Angel of the Battlefield," because she was not afraid to take care of soldiers in the war zone.

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After the Civil War Clara helped search for missing soldiers, lectured about her war experiences, worked at the Office of Correspondence, and became active in the suffragist movement. Clara worked so hard, she became ill. Her doctor told her to take a vacation in Europe so she could rest and become well again.

Clara went to Europe, but she didn't rest long. While in Europe Clara learned about the Red Cross and served as a Red Cross volunteer during the Franco-Prussian War. Clara was honored by the the French and Germans for the caring assistance she provided during the war.

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When Clara returned to the United States in 1873, she began her crusade to start a Red Cross in the United States. Clara would often visit Dansville, NY so she could rest in the country. She made many friends in the Dansville area and people wanted to honor her hard work. That is why the first local American Red Cross society began in Dansville, shortly before the American Red Cross was nationally recognized in 1881. Clara was the founder and first president of the American Red Cross.

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