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Clara Barton sends an autograph letter about her desire to get her notes into shape for publication.
Autograph Letter signed: "Clara Barton", 4p (integral leaf), 5x8. Washington, D.C., 1883 June 11. To "My dear, dear Mrs. Talbot". In full: "A letter from you was refreshing like a needed shower. It is very seldom I get a glimpse of you in these far-away days but the picture of your home is always ready to come at my bidding, and I see it all at a glance - and can place me at your pleasant table and you in the conversation at will. Few family circles have ever made so pleasant and lasting impression. It was like you, thoughtful and kind, to have spoken to Mr. Houghten of my ragged waifs - which you dignify by the title of 'diary'. They are only stray notes from which to make up a diary, and this is what I am pushing against mountains to do. 'The Century' --- asked for them in its collection of war reminiscences, But I could not furnish them. There is, I make no doubt, a volume or more, lying back, like ore in the mine, and I am trying to get time to work it out. When I once can get it into visible form and shape for a book - it would be the greatest kindness if some publishers would undertake the - I must think - doubtful experiment of bringing it before the public. That which is already in written notes is entirely disconnected, like squares of patch work which would not set together without some suitable material between to make up the quilt. I am attempting to furnish not only this, but to piece some more squares before I lose the scraps. When ere I get it in form & shape to show, there is no one helper whom I should so greatly spread it out as your own dear self. I wish I knew more about the Asylum you are building; I am hoping to get to Massachusetts in a few weeks for a visit to the family friends there, and if possible shall inform myself upon this point. I know it will be something good, and well done if you and the Dr. have to do with it. What a lovely travel the 'children' have planned. Marien's calm mind will take it all in, and her ready pen will let some of it out, I trust. There are scores of things of which I wish to speak with you. Perhaps my day will come one time. Will you kindly, if convenient, convey my thanks to Mr. Houghten for his interest, and add that I should turn nowhere with greater confidence. Of myself, I have to tell you of my good health; of course, not as young as twenty years ago, but as well, I think. I passed a large portion of last year at Danville, my country home, and finished by removing that home to this, for permanent residence. The change has given great labor, but is largely over now. I never hear of Sherborn any more. I suppose it still exists. Does your asylum design to take in its criminally insane & does the state make some provision otherwise for them? I shall learn all this I suppose when I get once more into the atmosphere of New England. Will you remember me in cordial regard to the Dr. Give love to the children and believe me my dear Mrs Talbot - as always your Sincere and affectionate friend." Clara Barton (1821-1912), who had served on the battlefields of the Civil War, became acquainted with the International Red Cross of Geneva while working abroad during the Franco-Prussian conflict and established the American Red Cross in 1882. She served as the organization's President until June 16, 1904, when she resigned from her "lifelong presidency". In April 1905, the year before this document was signed, Barton, who had originally planned to organized a Red Cross in Mexico, founded the National First Aid Association of America, which taught first aid classes (likely the reason for the Diplomas mentioned in this letter), developed the original first aid kits and helped to organize community ambulance brigades. She would serve as the organization's honorary President for five years. In 1907, The Story of My Childhood, the first and only volume of her planned multi-volume autobiography, was published. In 1891, Edward and Edwin Baltzley had built a three-story, 30-room home in Glen Echo, Maryland for Barton. Remodeled in 1897 as the headquarters of the American Red Cross, the home temporarily served as a warehouse and was crammed with thousands of items to assist victims of wars and natural disasters. Barton would live in the home until her death. Conjoined pages have nearly separated, except for 1-inch strip near lower edge. Otherwise, fine condition.

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Born: December 25, 1821 in Oxford, Massachusetts
Died: April 12, 1912 in Glen Echo, Maryland

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