We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE
OR
title

Clara Barton, Professional Angel

By Elizabeth Brown Pryor

Publication Year: 2011

Widely known today as the "Angel of the Battlefield," Clara Barton's personal life has always been shrouded in mystery. In Clara Barton, Professional Angel, Elizabeth Brown Pryor presents a biography of Barton that strips away the heroic exterior and reveals a complex and often trying woman.

Based on the papers Clara Barton carefully saved over her lifetime, this biography is the first one to draw on these recorded thoughts. Besides her own voluminous correspondence, it reflects the letters and reminiscences of lovers, a grandniece who probed her aunt's venerable facade, and doctors who treated her nervous disorders. She emerges as a vividly human figure. Continually struggling to cope with her insecure family background and a society that offered much less than she had to give, she chose achievement as the vehicle for gaining the love and recognition that frequently eluded her during her long life.

Not always altruistic, her accomplishments were nonetheless extraordinary. On the battlefields of the Civil War, in securing American participation in the International Red Cross, in promoting peacetime disaster relief, and in fighting for women's rights, Clara Barton made an unparalleled contribution to American social progress. Yet the true measure of her life must be made from this perspective: she dared to offend a society whose acceptance she treasured, and she put all of her energy into patching up the lives of those around her when her own was rent and frayed.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF (486.3 KB)
pp. 2-7

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF (60.6 KB)
pp. vii-viii

read more

Preface

pdf iconDownload PDF (343.2 KB)
pp. ix-xiv

Among the handful of heroines in America, Clara Barton has stood foremost in the field of philanthropy for more than a century. Small girls are taught to revere her early contributions to the field of nursing; her bravery on the battlefields of the Civil War has taken on the quality of legend; ...

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF (80.7 KB)
pp. xv-xvi

I was home not long ago and one of my friends said to me, "But what will we do without Clara? She is the only continuity in our lives." And indeed, the writing of this book has spanned my entire adult life, with all of its friendships, false starts, high times and low moments. ...

Clara Barton: Professional Angel

read more

Chapter One

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 3-19

On a cheerless Christmas Day in 1821 Captain Stephen Barton finished his round of chores and wearily entered the house to sit by the fire. The small Massachusetts town in which the Bartons lived had not yet given up the austere customs of Puritan times, and he looked forward to a quiet evening rather than a gay holiday celebration. ...

read more

Chapter Two

pdf iconDownload PDF (836.9 KB)
pp. 20-31

Clara stood by the large stone fireplace in her family's house and trained frightened and questioning eyes on the assembled Barton family. "But what am I to do with only two little old waifish dresses?" she asked. Her cousin Julia recognized at once that Clara was right—with her new occupation as teacher she needed an image that would inspire confidence and respect, ...

read more

Chapter Three

pdf iconDownload PDF (475.5 KB)
pp. 32-38

On a blustery day at the end of December 1850, Clara Barton tucked herself under the lap robes in her brother Stephen's sleigh and set off for the Worcester train depot. Her heart felt as cold as the frozen ground, for she at last realized that if she was leaving scenes that worried and oppressed her, she was also leaving her family and all that had been familiar and comforting.1 ...

read more

Chapter Four

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.1 MB)
pp. 39-54

Clara's visit to the Learneds lasted only a few months. In the hazy days of late summer 1851 she returned to her family at North Oxford, still without plans and in a depressed state of mind. Despite her fine scholarship in Clinton, she had been forced to leave before completing the entire course, ...

read more

Chapter Five

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 55-72

In her hasty departure from the rivalries in Bordentown, Clara Barton herself seems hardly to have known why she headed south. "I wanted the mild air for my throat," she later claimed, stating that she believed Washington to be the furthest point south an unescorted woman could go with propriety. ...

read more

Chapter Six

pdf iconDownload PDF (953.5 KB)
pp. 73-86

In rooms that were the "cosiest and prettiest that one could ask," Clara pondered and recovered, let the Bertrams wait on her, worried about Irving, weighed her options. Still "weak and bilious" in August but gaining strength, she was determined to go back to New York City, trade her accounting skills to the business world, ...

read more

Chapter Seven

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.4 MB)
pp. 87-107

Colonel Daniel H. Rucker scanned the crowded waiting room of his office somewhat impatiently. It was a hot July day and the quartermaster's office was, as usual, filled with petitioning citizens and irate soldiers, who had come to leave baskets for favorite sons or brothers, collect their back pay, ...

read more

Chapter Eight

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.7 MB)
pp. 108-133

During the winter of 1863 Barton followed the example of the Union army by settling into sluggish semiactivity. She shared with the soldiers a bone-weariness, and like them she spent the dreary months living on memories of the past and expectation for the spring campaigns. ...

read more

Chapter Nine

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.4 MB)
pp. 134-154

In her sorrow Barton once again instinctively turned to work for comfort and escape. She had won Lincoln's approval for her plan to work with released prisoners of war, and his word was, if anything, more revered now than before his death. His legacy to her had been a scrap of paper that read: ...

read more

Chapter Ten

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.4 MB)
pp. 155-174

The customs officers who scanned the lines of people trooping off of the Caledonia at Glasgow probably failed to notice a woman of forty-eight, plainly attired in black silk and accompanied by her sister. Her passport, too, gave little reason to pay her special attention. ...

read more

Chapter Eleven

pdf iconDownload PDF (844.6 KB)
pp. 175-186

Seasick, worn, and more than a little anxious, Clara stepped from the Parthia to pier 59 of New York's bustling harbor. To her surprise, it was crowded with friends and well-wishers. Eyewitnesses on the pier reported that Barton looked so well that her friends banished their fears that she had become a tottering old woman ...

read more

Chapter Twelve

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.7 MB)
pp. 187-211

Throughout 1876 and 1877 Barton's health and spirits continued to improve. Doctors Austin and Jackson still supervised her recovery. They encouraged Clara to participate in outings and programs at the sanitarium, to fill her house with congenial company, and to limit her activities ...

read more

Chapter Thirteen

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.3 MB)
pp. 212-231

In the early spring of 1882, amidst piles of telegrams, letters, and cards congratulating her on her unparalleled achievement in bringing the United States into the Red Cross, Clara Barton sat contemplating her future and that of the fledgling society she had formed. ...

read more

Chapter Fourteen

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.1 MB)
pp. 232-262

Of course the American Red Cross suffered while Clara Barton was managing the prisoners at Sherborn. She had been concerned about this when she reluctantly agreed to take the position, and the problems of the emerging organization continued to nag at her throughout 1883. ...

read more

Chapter Fifteen

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.3 MB)
pp. 263-295

Of course the American Red Cross suffered while Clara Barton was managing the prisoners at Sherborn. She had been concerned about this when she reluctantly agreed to take the position, and the problems of the emerging organization continued to nag at her throughout 1883. ...

read more

Chapter Sixteen

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.0 MB)
pp. 296-324

For nearly two years Americans had trained their eyes to this neighbor some ninety miles from their shores. In 1895 the Cubans had staged a revolution against the colonial rule of Spain, but the insurgents had lost and the despotic policies against which they were fighting were strengthened. ...

read more

Chapter Seventeen

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.0 MB)
pp. 325-354

On June 6, 1900, President William McKinley signed a bill that incorporated the American National Red Cross and gave a measure of protection to its insignia. It had been rather hastily put together in the beleaguered days following the Spanish-American War, ...

read more

Chapter Eighteen

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 355-372

In the weeks following her resignation from the Red Cross, Clara Barton frequently grieved over the estrangement as if it were the loss of a child. Like a young adult who abruptly cut the ties to his mother's apron strings and independently denounced her tastes and habits, ...

Abbreviations

pdf iconDownload PDF (71.0 KB)
pp. 373-374

Images

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.8 MB)
pp. 392-405

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF (3.2 MB)
pp. 375-436

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF (984.8 KB)
pp. 437-444


E-ISBN-13: 9780812200904
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812212730

Page Count: 476
Illustrations: 21 illus.
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Studies in Health, Illness, and Caregiving

Research Areas

Recommend

Subject Headings

  • Nurses -- United States -- Biography.
  • American Red Cross -- Biography.
  • Barton, Clara, 1821-1912.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access