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Clara Barton sends a typed letter about the Red Cross work in Galveston, the refusal of the Kansas Governor to permit her to help after a flood and opposition from "our deluded President", Theodore Roosevelt.
Typed Letter Signed: "Clara" as President of the American National Red Cross on the last page, 4p, 8¼x11, separate sheets. New York, 1903 June 28. To her sister, Mrs. Harriette Reed. In part: "The floods came and went, and we did not go - in fact on (sic, one) scarcely knew where to go to - we decided that help would be better divided among the people at various points; and yet I fully realized that nothing could be better for the Red Cross than a good active field of work, like Galveston. No one could have foretold the miserable opposition it would meet, but it could have been tried if there had been one solid field to meet. We offered to go to Kansas but the Govornor (sic), who is a personal friend of Mr. Jarvis, while very grateful for the offer felt that Kansas ought to get on without outside help. We offered also at St. Louis, but they were in the same position. You would have been rejoiced by the generous offers of our field helpers, ready from here to California to come upon call, without pay or glory...How many times I wish you were here, but this busy world is the bane of all who need something beyond themselves. I am glad of your success and the monument you are building will be a comfort and a stay as long as you live. California - do you go, my dear? It is lovely of you to think to invite me...the Spanish War Vetrans (sic) are the same, they insist that I meet them at New Haven, and bid me remember and 'not forget', 'that three-hundred thousand Spanish War Vetrans (sic) are with me - every man' and yet, dear Sister, a few ambitious women and a few men led on by them are able to overpower all this and ruin a work they have never helped create. Strange it seems, I believe, dear Sister, this will be. There is no one to bravely and intelligently open the eyes of our deluded President [Theodore Roosevelt] and warn him, for our sake and his own, to 'call off his pack'. Let me know please, if you decide to go to California; it is so charming that Bessie can go...I was at Philadelphia this last week, to assist at the Commencement and Graduating Exercises of a hundred and thirty nurses. This was followed next day by a banquet tendered me by the nurses, and attended by some of the leading men of the city. It was a magnificent affair and you would never have mistrusted by their demeanor toward me, that I was such a disgraceful and disgraced personage. You will be glad to know that in my enfeebled condition I was enabled to hold in entire silence an audience of four-thousand, packed from the floor to the galleries up in the roof. No one was obliged to hold me up or help me on or off the stage...You will also be glad to know that my Washington dressmaker is here and I am in a fair way to get a gown or two. Never like my sister Harriette's - Oh, No, I never aspire to that, but just something to do...." Clara Barton (1821-1912) earned the title "Angel of the Battlefield" during the Civil War by working as an amateur nurse and providing medical supplies, food and moral support to the troops. In 1869, she traveled to Europe and learned about the International Red Cross Movement and the Geneva Convention that protects the sick and wounded in warfare. On her return to the U.S., she began a vigorous lobbying effort to have the U.S. become a signatory to the Convention, which finally occurred in 1882. The year before, Barton established the American Red Cross. For over two decades, she served as the President of the organization, leading its disaster relief efforts at home and abroad, providing service to the U.S. military in the Spanish-American War (1898) and taking an active part in suffragette and other social movements. DURING THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, members of the military accused Red Cross volunteers of insulting the army's ability to tend to its own needs and resented them. Barton refers to the Kansas Governor refusing help from the Red Cross. DURING THE ENTIRE MONTH OF MAY 1903, IT RAINED ALMOST INCESSANTLY THROUGHOUT THE KANSAS RIVER WATERSHED. The June 1903 rise in the Missouri River came at the same time. With the addition of these rains, the Missouri and the Kansas waters met and inundated the lands contiguous to the two rivers. Hundreds of homes were destroyed, businesses, factories wrecked and other property damaged to an amount estimated at $34 million in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri. NEVERTHELESS, GOVERNOR WILLIS BAILEY REFUSED CLARA BARTON'S OFFER OF HELP. THE RED CROSS HAD HELPED GALVESTON, TEXAS, AFTER A HURRICANE HIT ON SEPTEMBER 8, 1900. Clara Barton arrived on September 17th with a group of workers. The Central Relief Committee delegated to them the distribution of food and clothing until the Red Cross group left on November 14th. In the aftermath of a tidal wave and flood earlier in 1903 in Galveston, which left 6,000 dead, Barton directed her last major relief effort as the Red Cross distributed $120,000 in cash and supplies. THEODORE ROOSEVELT, CALLED BY BARTON IN THIS LETTER AS "OUR DELUDED PRESIDENT", DID NOT SUPPORT HER EFFORTS. He believed that the Red Cross should be incorporated into the Medical Department of the Army. In 1904, Clara Barton was forced to resign due to criticism of her alleged financial mismanagement. In 1905, relief committee members helped to reorganize the Red Cross into a business-like organization. A new Congressional charter was issued to the American Red Cross in 1905. Folds, light vertical fold touches "la" in signature. Creased with slight vertical tears and nicked at bottom blank margin of first page. Slight separation at cross folds on first page touches 2 words (all intact). 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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