Clara Barton (Clarissa Harlowe Barton)
Born in Oxford, Massachusetts on Christmas Day, 1821. From 1836 until 1854 she taught school in Massachusetts and New Jersey. In 1854 she changed her career and moved to Washington, D.C. to become a clerk in the U.S. Patent Office.
When the Civil War broke out, she decided to contribute to the war effort by gathering and distributing needed supplies to wounded soldiers. At war's end, she compiled records to assist in the identification of missing troops.
She was in Europe when the Franco-Prussian War began in 1870 and again she devoted herself to helping the wounded. At this time she became associated with the International Red Cross. Upon her return to the United States in 1873 she began a campaign to create a branch of that organization in her home country. In 1881-1882 she was elected the first president of the newly-formed American Red Cross and convinced the U.S. government to accept the 1864 Geneva convention about treatment of enemy prisoners. She was also the first to amend the charter of her new organization to allow it to provide relief for all disasters, both natural and political.
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