Clarissa Harlowe Barton, known as Clara, is one of the most honored women in American history. Guided by an intense devotion to helping others, she forged a bold path of service to help those in need. As founder of the American Red Cross, Clara is considered a visionary whose humanitarian spirit helped change the world.
On May 21, 1881, Clara founded the American Red Cross, and by 1882, the U.S. ratified the Geneva Conventions — laws that, to this day, protect the war-wounded and civilians in conflict zones. This later resulted in a U.S. congressional charter, officially recognizing Red Cross services.
“You must never think of anything except the need, and how to meet it,” she said.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury recently announced a redesign of the ten-dollar bill, to include a notable woman as the new face of the bill. Many minds at the Red Cross jumped immediately to our founder, Clara Barton. Here is a brief summary of who she was!
Barton is one of the most honored women in American history. She was a schoolteacher and also one of the first women to work for the federal government.
Risking her life, Barton offered support, food and supplies to soldiers who were fighting in the Civil War. In 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War, Barton used her expertise to help distribute relief supplies and set up stations where work could be done.
On May 21, 1881, Barton and a group of like-minded individuals founded the American Association of the Red Cross, and she led it for 23 years! The Red Cross received its first congressional charter in 1900 and a second in 1905.
Since then Barton published several books pertaining to the American Red Cross. She had a special interest for things that would promote a better future for all like education, prison reform, women’s suffrage, civil rights, and even spiritualism.
Barton has contributed so much to so many, and her devout love for humanity along with her willingness to serve others was revealed time and time again through her actions, and resulted in enough achievements to fill several ordinary lifetimes.