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Clarissa Harlowe Barton was born December 25 1821 in North Oxford Massachusetts Her father Captain Stephen Barton was a farmer horsebreeder and respected member of the community Her mother Sarah managed the household and taught Barton the importance of cleanliness Barton was the youngest of 5 children At the outbreak of the Civil War Barton resigned from the Patent Office to work as a volunteer She advertised for supplies and distributed bandages socks and other goods to help the wounded soldiers In 1862 Barton was granted permission to deliver supplies directly to the front which she did without fail for the next two years In 1864 Barton was given the position of superintendent of Union nurses After the war she received permission from President Lincoln to begin a letter-writing campaign to search for missing soldiers During the years following the war Barton lectured about her war experiences continued her work at the Office of Correspondence and worked with the suffragist movement However by 1869 Barton had worked herself into a physical breakdown She followed her doctors orders and traveled to Europe to rest and regain her health It was during this trip that Barton learned about the Treaty of Geneva which provided relief for sick and wounded soldiers Twelve nations had signed the treaty but the United States had refused Barton vowed to look into the matter During this time Barton also learned about the Red Cross When Barton returned to the United States in 1873 she began her crusade for the Treaty of Geneva and the Red Cross After spending time at a spa in Danville New York to improve her health Barton moved to Washington DC to lobby for her causes Due to her efforts the United States signed the Geneva Agreement in 1882 In addition the American Red Cross organization was formed in 1881 and Barton served as its first president Several years later she wrote the American
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