Many people know of Clara Barton because of her work to establish the American version of the Red Cross. Her reputation had grown from her work as a nurse during the Civil War and her petitions to the American government. She even served with the International Red Cross for about a year during the Franco-Prussian War, furthering her reputation as someone who cared for the wounded without prejudice or fear. Here are some interesting facts about this woman who is responsible for helping so many, even to this day.
1. A Historical Figure Indeed
Clara Barton was always fighting for equality. Before the Civil War, she became the first woman to hold a position in the US patent office and have the same salary as a man in the same position. She also opened a school in New Jersey that grew so rapidly that she was provided extra funds to build more facilities. Her focus was on civil rights from the very start of her career, not just for women, but for everyone so that they could pursue happiness in their own way. Her home would become one of the first national historic sites to honor a woman.
2. A Brush With Death
Barton organized many treatment centers during the days of the Civil War. Those deadly years saw a lot of casualties and she was running numerous Union hospitals throughout Virginia and North Carolina despite just being a nurse. One day, while attending to a wounded soldier, a bullet when through the sleeve of her shirt and wound up killing the soldier who was standing behind her. It would be an incident that would drive her passions to even new heights.
3. A Change In Policy
The International Red Cross was originally founded to provide support to soldiers during times of war. Barton admired this about them, but believed that they would be able to do even more. She had already created the foundations for the American Red Cross to provide disaster relief should it happen in her country and she wanted the International Red Cross to do the same. She introduced an amendment in 1884 and the “American Amendment was approved.
4. She Loved Animals
Barton always had an affinity for animals. In her early years, it was more about dogs. Her first dog was even named Button. In her later years, she became more of a cat person. There’s a painting of one of her cats, named Tommy, that still hangs up in her home that has become the national historical site. She loved animals so much, in fact, that she spent her life as a vegetarian.
5. A Sometimes Simple Life
Barton was known for enjoying the simple life. Despite this, however, she was a rather modern woman for her time. Her home was equipped with both electricity and a telephone. One of her joys in life was to ride around in automobiles. She even got to ride in a submarine once, much to her enjoyment.
Clara Barton’s compassion and drive for equality has made her a memorable figure in American history. Loved and respected by all, her work continues to live on with every person helped by the Red Cross.