Hello. My name is Clarissa Harlowe Barton. I was born on December 25, 1821, in Oxford, Massachusetts. I was a shy kid, but I really wanted to help others. The first time I discovered my passion was when my brother, David, had an accident. I tended to him and this sparked a desire to help others. Later, as a teenager, I helped out by becoming a teacher and even opened a free public school in New Jersey.
During the Civil War, I desperately needed to help those soldiers who fought for us. I started collecting and distributing supplies for the Union Army. I served as an independent nurse too. The first time I saw a battle was in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was 1862, and I took care of the wounded. I also helped after the horrible, bloody battle at Antietam. They called be the “Angel of the Battlefield”.
Finally, after the war, I ended up working for the War Department. I wanted to help reunite soldiers with their families and help find those who went missing. I spoke of my experiences in war with others through lectures. So many people came to listen.
I also am the founder of the American Red Cross. I first got this idea when I was working with a relief organization in Europe during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. It was called the International Red Cross. When I returned home, I decided to make my own organization like this. The American Red Cross Society was founded in 1881, and I was the first president. I oversaw the relief work for disasters all over America. I was happy to finally be able to help people in a big way. I resigned from the Red Cross in 1904 when I was 83. I kept giving speeches and lectures, and I even wrote a book. It was called The Story of My Childhood. I died at home in Glen Echo in Maryland, at age 91, on April 12, 1912.
Today, I look over the American Red cross and am so pleased to see that it is helping people after disasters not only here, in America, but also abroad. There are many donors and volunteers, and I am pleased to see that my work has not gone to waste. I am extremely happy that the United States of America continues to help and support its people and the people in other nations.