Clara Barton sends an autograph letter of thanks for the
Autograph Letter Signed: "Clara Barton", 2p, 5x6½ lined sheet,
conjoined leaves. Glen Echo, Maryland, 1911 January 2. To Mr. Frederick
Meserve, New York. In full: "I thank you inexpressibly for that good picture
of Mrs. Howe. I have been outraged these last years, by the cuts that have
been allowed to appear; and from what I can judge from the newspaper cuts of
the picture in question regarding its place in Fanuel (sic, Faneuil)
Hall, I do not wonder that the "Art Commission" objects. I have, of course,
no possible idea of the nature of that objection, but I know what mine would be.
If its admission is asked on the grounds of "Authorship of The Battle Hymn".
They should present the representation of the Author as she was when it was
written, showing the strength and force of character that could create such a
production. The picture of Mrs. Howe in her days of failing strength, and
feebleness, may maybe more tenderly dear, and precious to the loving hearts of
her children, and immediate family, than words could express. It is most fitting
on their walls - but for the general public, no! Mrs. Howe herself, would not
prefer it! But I am saying too much - Again thanking, gratefully as always".
Lightly creased with folds, not at signature. 2 paper clip impressions at upper
margin of first page. Fine condition. Accompanied by original envelope
initialed: "C.B." in return address, 6¼x3¾. 2-cent stamp affixed, postmarked
Glen Echo, MD., January 3, 1911. Addressed by Barton to: "Mr. F.H. Meserve, #74,
Broadway, New York, N.Y-". Lightly creased at lower right corner. Slightly
soiled. Overall, fine condition. Written just 15 months before Barton's death
(April 12, 1912). New England teacher and Red Cross President (1882-1804),
CLARA BARTON (1821-1912) wrote this letter to FREDERICK H.
MESERVE, a collector of early American photography, thanking him for sending
a lovely portrait of JULIA WARD HOWE, best known as the author of the
"Battle Hymn of the Republic" (1862). Howe had died three months earlier, and
no doubt the photographs printed in the newspapers were exceptionally poor.
Both Barton and Howe had witnessed the shocking reality of war during the
American Civil War (1861-1865). Barton was inspired to help through her nursing
while Howe had been moved to help the spirits and morale of the troops through
her patriotic hymn. During the War, Barton first organized the means of
distributing medical supplies to doctors and field hospitals and relief supplies
to soldiers and civilians. While visiting Europe (1869-1870), the
Franco-Prussian War led the young nurse to utilize her organizational abilities
and repeat her relief endeavors. At this time, she learned of and became
involved with the International Red Cross. Her subsequent founding of the
American branch (1882) encouraged the U.S. to sign the Geneva Treaty (1882)
for the treatment of wounded during battle and the return of the dead. Barton
was solely responsible for the clause that provided for Red Cross aid to
civilians during disasters, such as earthquakes or floods, as well as for
soldiers during war. Meserve was an astute businessman and historian who
specialized in Lincolniana. In the year of this letter, he published
Photographs of Abraham Lincoln. Two items. Framed in the
Gallery of History style: 43¾x22¼.
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