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Clara Barton sends an important autograph letter.
Autograph Letter Signed: "Your loving sister,/Clara [Note: "Barton" had been written, but was rubbed out]", 2p, 8½x11. On letterhead of The American National Red Cross, Washington, D.C., but written from Glen Echo, Maryland, 1899 September 18. To her "dearest sister Harriet". In full: "You have my letter before this, as I have yours tonight; telling me how all ready you are to go, I had the same silent command that comes to me at times not to go now, and I obeyed it. Today, comes a letter from Mrs. Rathbone that she comes north on the Mexico, sailing on the 16 - last Saturday - and is thus nearly in quarantine at Hoffman's Island by today. It would have been very awkward to have been in Cuba in her absence, and she would have been disappointed. She wants to stay in, or near, N.Y. a little while, and be in Washington the last of the month to attend the D.A.R. National Board Meeting. She wants to interest them in our work. She seems very happy to have Dr Holbell there; I hope it isnt (sic) too dreadfully embarrassing to you to have gotten all ready and then wait, - but now that you are prepared to leave, isnt (sic) it best to come directly here & take up the main business and do what is to be done. Meetings can be called now, if desirable, or the thing to do: it is time the 'White cross' was brought to the notice of the Red cross officials, and learn if they have any interest, or can see anything in it -- if not, what we shall do, or decide that we need never do any thing more, lay off our armer (sic) and retire. There is certainly a great deal to do just now, if there is any thing to do: and how can we better arrive at that, than by being together, looking the ground over, measuring our forces, and deciding our course? I am afraid you wont (sic) feel like coming. I know how unattractive it is, but if you feel that you can, I wish you would. I will try to be as bearable as possible; smile once in a while, and not cry more than half the time. I begin to realize that I am not just as well, and physically, sound, as I ought to be, and should have these matters straightened out. Dr. Lucy Hall Brown, her husband & friends are in the city this week attending a (sic) electrical convention, I should have been so glad to have you meet. She feels very much in earnest and vexed with all, at the much that women do, of a good efficient honest work, and how little is done by men outside of politics, and personal advantage. She was almost in tears over the recital I gave her of the successful work and results of the N.R.C. -- said the women auxiliaries did all the relief work last year. I have no one in the family but Mr. Balan & Maxine We can manage the letters very well -- I think I can soon turn a good share on to them, and be free for more important things. If you feel that you can come, do, -- if you dont (sic) I will submit and bear it and excuse." 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. In 1898, President McKinley had asked the Red Cross to begin relief efforts in Cuba. The outbreak of Yellow Fever in Cuba during the Spanish American War, probably was the reason for quarantining the ship Mexico referenced in the letter. Dr. Hubbell was DR. JULIAN G. HUBBELL, a chemistry teacher who Barton met in 1876 and who became one of her most devoted workers. At the time of this letter, Barton was lobbying Congress to grant the American Red Cross its charter which was passed in 1900 and provided limited protection of the insignia. At the time of her lobbying, THE WHITE CROSS had the powerful support of the Catholic church and support in Congress. In the year of this letter, a bill was passed in Congress to incorporate the White Cross, but it was never signed into law. Barton and the American Red Cross were constantly fighting to protect the integrity of the insignia from commercial abuse as well as fighting to keep the organization unified and not diluted in its power or effectiveness by splinter groups operating under the Red Cross or similar names. In 1905 Congress granted a revised charter under which the American Red Cross operates to this day. Creased. Folds. Lightly soiled. Pencil circle (unknown hand) drawn around some sentences. Overall, 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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