Clarissa Harlowe "Clara" Barton (December 25, 1821 – April 12, 1912) American National Red Cross.
On May 21, 1881, the first convention in the United States to consider the Red Cross movement was held in Washington, and a constitution and bylaws adopted. Five objects of association were named: first, to secure the adoption in the United States of the international treaty; second, to obtain the recognition of our government; third, to organize a system of national relief and apply the same in war, pestilence, famine, or other calamities; fourth, to collect and diffuse information; and fifth, to cooperate with all other national societies.
On June 9, 1881, the officers were elected as follows: Clara Barton, president; Judge William Lawrence, vice president; Dr. Alex. Y. P. Garnett, vice president, D. C; A. S. Solomons, treasurer; George Kennon, secretary. The executive board consisted of Judge William Lawrence, Dr. George B. Loring, Gen. S. D. Sturgis, Mrs. S. A. Martha Canfield, Mr. Walter P. Phillips, Clara Barton, Walker Blaine, Col. R. J. Huiston, N. B. Taylor, John R. Van Wormer, and William N. Sliney. Miss Barton was also the corresponding secretary, and Gen. S. D. Mussey consulting counsel.
In an address outlining the purpose of the work Miss Barton says:
"I have never classed the Red Cross societies with charities. I have rather considered them as a wise national provision which seeks to govern and store up something against an hour of sudden need."'
Under the administration of President Arthur, in July, 1882, the American branch of the Red Cross was incorporated into the international society, and received into the fellowship of the kindred societies of thirty one other nations. It was the Forty-seventh Congress to which is due the honor of legislative enactment. Hon. Oliver D. Carger of Michigan, Hon. William Windom of Minnesota, Senator E. G. Lapham of New York, and Senators Morgan of Alabama, Edmunds of Vermont, Hawley of Connecticut, Anthony of Rhode Island, and Hoar of Massachusetts were all especially prominent in aiding the work. The final concurrence and adhesion of the United States was learned with great satisfaction by the affiliated societies.
Since this final action Miss Barton has been variously engaged in furthering the work. In the fires that devastated Wisconsin, the floods that caused such suffering at Johnstown, Pa., the earthquake horror at Charleston, S. C,—in all these the Red Cross has mitigated and relieved suffering to an incalculable degree. Tokens of distinguished consideration and approval have
poured in upon Clara Barton from nearly every court in Europe; but more glowing and brilliant than the Red Cross brooch from the grand duchess of Baden; the Gold Cross of Remembrance from a grand duke, the Iron Cross of Merit from the emperor of Germany, or the Red Cross of Merit with the colors of the empire—more brilliant than these are the never-fading ornaments of a noble spirit,—of tenderness, devotion to an unselfish purpose, love for humanity, and reverence for the divine will. These qualities are the priceless possessions of Clara Barton, and crown her with a matchless coronet of love and honor.
TEXT CREDIT: The Chautauquan, Volume 22 By Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, Chautauqua Institution.