Barton Hall Namesake: Clarissa Harlowe Barton

Barton Hall

Clarissa Harlowe Barton

Clarissa Harlowe Barton (1821-1912), Clara, as she wished to be called -- is one of the most honored women in American history for being a true pioneer as well as an outstanding humanitarian. As a pioneer, she began teaching school at a time when most teachers were men. She was among the first women to gain employment in the federal government. As a pioneer and humanitarian, she risked her life when she was nearly 40 years old to bring supplies and support to soldiers in the field during the Civil War. Then, at age 60, she founded the American Red Cross in 1881 and led it for the next 23 years. Her understanding of the needs of people in distress and the ways in which she could provide help to them guided her throughout her life. By the force of her personal example, she opened paths to the new field of volunteer service. Her intense devotion to the aim of serving others resulted in enough achievements to fill several ordinary lifetimes.