2 minute readClara Barton, History
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13 Reasons Why Clara Barton Should Be on #TheNew10

As many of you have heard, the U.S. Department of the Treasury is redesigning the ten dollar bill. In their search, they’re looking for a notable woman to put on it. At the American Red Cross, we think there is no better person to put on the ten dollar bill than our beloved founder, Clara Barton. In fact, we’ve came up with a few reason why we think she’s the perfect person. Feel free to share these images and facts on social and tag them with #TheNew10.

1. Dedication

Clara Barton spent most of her life dedicated to serving others.


2. Equal Pay

While still a teenager, she began teaching school near North Oxford, Massachusetts at time when most teachers were men. The school offered her a position in the winter months with the same lower pay she received for the summer months. She stated “I may sometimes be willing to teach for nothing, but if paid at all, I shall never do a man’s work for less than a man’s pay.” Clara’s resolve and sterling reputation as a teacher won out and she was paid the same as the male teachers.


3. Angel of the Battlefield

She was dubbed “the angel of the battlefield.” Following the battle of Cedar Mountain in northern Virginia in August 1862, she appeared at a field hospital at midnight with a wagon-load of supplies drawn by a four-mule team. The surgeon on duty, overwhelmed by the human disaster surrounding him, wrote later, “I thought that night if heaven ever sent out a[n] . . . angel, she must be one—her assistance was so timely.” Thereafter she was known as the “Angel of the Battlefield” as she served the troops at the battles of Fairfax Station, Chantilly, Harpers Ferry, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Charleston, Petersburg and Cold Harbor.

4. Risk Taker

She risked her life more than once during the civil war to aid soldiers—one of the most dramatic happened at Antietam when Clara was giving a soldier a cup of water when he suddenly died. She then noticed a hole in her sleeve from a bullet that narrowly missed her and killed the soldier.


5. Resourceful 

She removed a bullet from a soldier’s cheek with her pocket knife at Antietam.

6. Fierce Protector

At Antietam, she discovered a woman posing as a man fighting in the war—Mary Galloway. Mary was injured. Clara admired her defiance of custom and spirit to fight. She protected her and helped locate Mary’s future husband—who was also wounded and in a Washington hospital. They later named their eldest daughter after Clara Barton.


7. Impartial in War

Impartiality was the watchword of her war work. She exhibited this sentiment in Culpeper by providing Confederate prisoners with sheets and clothing to alleviate their suffering.

8. First Aid Guru

She served as honorary president of the National First Aid Association of America founded in 1905. After leaving the Red Cross in her 80s, Clara traveled the country teaching people first-aid skills.

9. Approval from Honest Abe

In March of 1865, President Abraham Lincoln gave her permission to open the Office of Missing Soldiers. Through this effort, she managed to reconcile the fates of 22,000 missing men.


10. Used World Travels for Good

After the Civil War, She traveled to Europe to rest, per the advice of her doctor. While in Geneva Switzerland, she was visited by two members of the International Red Cross. She learned about the movement. By 1870, the Franco Prussian war had started. She volunteered with the International Red Cross providing primarily civilian relief. Through this experience, she knew that her mission was to return to the United States and found a Red Cross Society.

11. International Issues Mover and Shaker

She lobbied the federal government to sign the Treaty of Geneva. She was finally successful in 1882.

12. Originator

The American Red Cross was founded in 1881 by Clara Barton.

13. Women’s Employment Front-runner

Clara Barton was one of the first female employees in the federal government. She worked for the US Patent office.