Posted on January 23, 2015
She refused to accept that women could only perform certain jobs and became the first woman to hold a job in the U.S. Patent Office and one of the first women to hold a government job, period. She then traveled to the front lines during the Civil War to help take care of wounded soldiers and eventually founded the United States Red Cross.
Clarissa Harlowe Barton is born on Christmas Day in North Oxford, Massachusetts tp Stephen Barton and Sarah Stone Barton.
She becomes a teacher.
Founds a school for the workers at her brother’s mill.
She enrolls at the Clinton Liberal Institute in New York where she studies writing and languages.
Goes to work at the U.S. Patent Office as a clerk. She is believed to be the first woman to hold a job in the U.S. government and she receives the same salary as the male clerks. However, due to political pressure to keep women from working in such government jobs, she is demoted to copyist.
She is let go from the U.S. Patent Office because she is a woman.
She goes back to work at the U.S. Patent Office as a temporary copyist.
The Civil War breaks out. After the Battle of Bull Run, she establishes an agency to distribute supplies to soldiers. She also nurses soldiers on the battlefields and is nicknamed the “Angel of the Battlefield.”
She travels to the front lines and nurses men of both the North and South during the bloody sieges of Petersburg and Richmond. She cleans the hospitals, attends to soldiers’ wounds and serves them food.
She becomes romantically involved with Colonel John J. Elwell, who is married.
Union General Benjamin Butler names her “lady in charge” of the hospitals at the front line of the Army of the James. During this period, a bullet shoots through the sleeve of her dress and kills the man she is tending. She becomes known as the “Angel of the Battlefield.”
President Abraham Lincoln appoints her General Correspondent for the Friends of Paroled Prisoners.
She travels to Geneva, Switzerland for a rest after doctors recommend she take a break.
While in Europe, she becomes involved with the International Red Cross during the Franco-Prussian War.
She returns to the United States.
The International Red Cross officials ask her to start the American Red Cross. During the same year, she organizes aid efforts in the Florida yellow fever epidemic.
She forms the first branch of the American Red Cross and serves as its president.
She urges the United States to ratify the Geneva Convention.
The Geneva Convention is ratified by Congress.
Her brother, David Barton, dies.
Helps with relief efforts after the devastating flood in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
Travels to Russia to work in the relief effort during the Russian famine.
Writes a poem entitled “The Women Who Went to the Field.”
A hurricane hits Georgia, the Sea Islands, South and North Carolina, and Virginia.
Clara directs the “Sea Island Relief” efforts for ten months after the hurricane.
Sails in a cargo ship from Cuba to Turkey to aid the victims of the Armenian Massacre.
The National Society of the Spanish War names her Honorary President, but she resigns after Susan B. Anthony tells her the society does not accept African-Americans.
Publishes a book entitled The Red Cross in Peace and War.
A hurricane and tidal wave hit Galveston, Texas. Barton directs the relief effort.
Publishes a book entitled A Story of the Red Cross: Glimpses of Field Work.
She resigns from her job as president of the Red Cross.
She organizes the National First Aid Association of America.
She writes The Story of My Childhood.
Clara dies in Glen Echo, Maryland at the age of 91 and is buried in a family plot in Oxford, Massachusetts.