CLARA BARTON

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Clara Barton was born In December 1821. Barton spent much of her life in the service of others and created an organization that still helps people in need today -- the American Red Cross.
A shy child, she first found her calling when she tended to her brother David after an accident.

During the Civil War, Clara Barton sought to help the soldiers in any way she could. At the beginning, she collected and distributed supplies for the Union Army. Not content sitting on the sidelines, Barton served as an independent nurse and first saw combat in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1862. She also cared for wounded soldiers. Barton was nicknamed "the angel of the battlefield" for her work.

After the war ended in 1865, Clara Barton worked for the War Department, helping to either reunite missing soldiers and their families or find out more about those who were missing. She also became a lecturer and crowds of people came to hear her talk about her war experiences.

While visiting Europe, Clara Barton worked with a relief organization known as the International Red Cross during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–'71. Some time after returning home to the United States, she began to lobby for an American branch of this international organization.

The American Red Cross Society was founded in 1881 and Barton served as its first president, throughout the years she never took a salary for her work within the organization. As its leader, Clara Barton oversaw assistance and relief work for the victims of such disasters as the 1889 Johnstown Flood and the 1900 Galveston flood.

The Red Cross lives on today as a major relief agency throughout the world.

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