People & Events|
Clara Barton (1821-1912) began her career as an educator, founding one of New Jersey's first public schools, from which she resigned after a male teacher was given the school's highest position. Barton became one of the first appointed female civil servants when she earned a clerkship in the Patent Office in 1854. During the Civil War, Barton distributed supplies by mule team, nursed wounded soldiers, and organized hospitals. During a visit to Switzerland in 1868 to recuperate from overwork and exhaustion, Barton discovered the International Committee of the Red Cross. Her effort to organize a chapter in her own country took five years, until 1881, and she served as president of the American Association of the Red Cross until 1904. In her 70s, Barton returned to nursing to care for soldiers in the Spanish-American War.