Clara Barton
1821 - 1912
When Clara Barton was sixteen, phrenologist Lorenzo Fowler advised her to become a teacher to cure her shyness. For ten years, Barton taught in a small Massachusetts town, where her brother owned a factory. After she was invited to teach in a private school in Bordentown, New Jersey, Barton recognized the community's need for free education, and despite opposition, set up one of the first free public schools in the state. When officials appointed a male principal in her place, Barton resigned. In 1854, she moved to Washington, where she became the first woman to work at the Patent Office. Barton's war work began in April 1861. After the Battle of Bull Run, she established an agency to obtain and distribute supplies to wounded soldiers. In July 1862, she obtained permission to travel behind the lines, eventually reaching some of the grimmest battlefields of the war and serving during the sieges of Petersburg and Richmond. Barton delivered aid to soldiers of both the North and South. After the war, she became a popular and widely respected lecturer. In 1881 she established the American Red Cross, and served as its director until her death. Brady photographed Barton in Washington during the 1860s.

Mathew Brady Studio
Albumen print
15.4 x 10.8 cm (6 1/16 x 4 1/4 inches)
1198.0002 (165-B-822)
National Archives & Records Administration