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Clara Barton National Historic Site


Clara Barton National Historic Site in Maryland
© Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs
Clara Barton, the "Angel of the Battlefield" and founder
of the American Red Cross, cared for the sick and
wounded during the Civil War.

The Clara Barton National Historic Site in Maryland preserves the home of the founder of the American Red Cross and famous "Angel of the Battlefield" -- a woman who went far beyond the traditional role of a nineteenth-century female.

Clara Barton was born in 1821 and worked as a schoolteacher and Patent Office clerk before she devoted her energy to the care of the sick and wounded during the Civil War. She tended the wounded at the Second Battle of Manassas, Antietam, the Wilderness, Fredericksburg, and Spotsylvania.

Barton tended the soldiers for humanitarian, not patriotic, reasons. "Men have worshipped war till it has cost a million times more than the earth is worth," she said. After the war, she spent the next several years helping to locate missing soldiers and identifying the graves of unknown soldiers at Andersonville Prison.

In 1868, suffering from fatigue and poor health, Barton went to Europe, intending to rest. Instead, she nursed the wounded of the Franco-Prussian War and learned for the first time about the International Red Cross. Back home, she battled bureaucracy until the U.S. Senate established the Red Cross in the United States in 1882. One of the American Red Cross's first efforts was aiding victims of the Johnstown flood of 1889.

The house where Barton lived from 1897 until her death in 1912 at age 90 displays some of her furniture and personal possessions. The structure was originally built as a warehouse for Red Cross supplies. It also served as the first permanent headquarters of the American Red Cross.

Clara Barton National Historic Site Information

Address: 5801 Oxford Rd., Glen Echo, MD
Telephone: 301/320-1410
Hours of Operation: Daily, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day
Admission: Free

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eric Peterson is a Denver-based freelance writer who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.


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