Clara Barton
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Clara Barton was a very important woman in history with many accomplishments. She helped others constantly and dedicated her entire life to others. 

Clara Barton

Clara Barton’s full name was Clarissa Harlowe Barton. She was born on December 25, 1821 in Oxford, Massachusetts. She was the youngest of five children and had two brothers and two sisters. She was home-schooled and was a great speller even at age four. Clara also had a lisp when she was young and was teased by her own family members. Her older sister, Dorothy, was like a mother to Clara. When Dorothy had a mental breakdown when Clara was six, Sally took care of her instead. Also, when Clara’s brother David, fell at a construction site, she cared for him for two years while his health was unstable. Her father was named Captain Stephen Barton. He was a farmer and a horse breeder. Her mother, Sarah Barton, took care of their home and taught Clara the importance of cleanliness.

Her Education

Since Clara was home-schooled, her brother Stephen taught her math, and her other brother, David coached her in her athletics. Her sister, Dorothy, taught her spelling, and her other sister, Sally, taught her geography. Clara found school easy and studied philosophy, chemistry, and Latin.


Clara was told by a phrenologist to become a teacher to get rid of her shyness. At age 17, Clara became a teacher in Massachusetts District 9. Her school was the first public school in the state. She taught 40 boys and girls at her school. It also won a prize for discipline. Clara said that no discipline was necessary. After that, she received many job offers. Throughout the next six years, she taught at many different schools. When she was 29, she wanted a change, so she went to a Liberal Institute in Clinton, New York. While there, she pursued her writing and language goals. After a year at Clinton, she accepted a teaching job in New Jersey. When a man was hired to take her place as principle, she quit. In 1854, she then moved to Washington, and she became the first woman to work in the Patent Office.

American Red Cross

On May 21, 1881, Clara founded the American Red Cross Organization. An example of their early work was when they helped victims from floods near the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. She provided nursing care for wounded soldiers at war. This agency helped many soldiers and people who were hurt or sick. Clara was the president of the American Red Cross for 23 years.


Clara Barton died on April 12, 1921 in Glen Echo, Maryland. She was around 90 years old and died of natural causes. Clara Barton was a wonderful woman who changed so many lives that she will never be forgotten.







  • "Clara Barton." Clara Barton Biography. 25 Jan. 2009. Lakewood Public Library. 23 Feb. 2009 <>. 


  • "Clara Barton, 1821-1912." Clara barton Civil War Women American Red Cross Founder. 23 Feb. 2009 <>. 


  • Faust, Patricia L. "Clara Harlowe Barton." Clara Barton Biography. Historical Times Encyclopedia of the Civil War. 23 Feb. 2009 http:/>.


  • Goodwin, Joan. "Clara Barton." Clara Barton. 1999. 23 Feb. 2009 <>. 


  • Sahlman, Rachel. "Clara Barton." SPECTRUM Biographies - Clara barton. 2007. SPECTRUM Biographies. 23 Feb. 2009 <>.


  • Somervill, Barabara A. "Clara Barton: Founder of the American Red Cross" Student Research Center - powered by EbscoHost: Clara Barton: Founder of the American Red Cross. 2007. 23 Feb. 2009 <

Picture References

  • 2007. Civil War Librarian. 21 Feb. 2009 <


  • Clara Barton. The American Civil War . 21 Feb. 2009 <>.


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Villa Maria Academy Lower School
Page Created April 6, 2009