An American Treasure: The Foundation Documents of the American Red Cross, and a History of that Organization, From the Personal File of Its Founder, Clara Barton

These are Barton’s own copies, in her hand

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They document the humanitarian effort to establish an American branch of the International Red Cross, and Barton’s Grand Vision, Which Became a Reality


The Founding of the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross said it best. “Clarissa Harlowe Barton, known as Clara, is one of the most honored women in...

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An American Treasure: The Foundation Documents of the American Red Cross, and a History of that Organization, From the Personal File of Its Founder, Clara Barton

These are Barton’s own copies, in her hand

They document the humanitarian effort to establish an American branch of the International Red Cross, and Barton’s Grand Vision, Which Became a Reality


The Founding of the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross said it best. “Clarissa Harlowe Barton, known as Clara, is one of the most honored women in American history. Barton risked her life to bring supplies and support to soldiers in the field during the Civil War. She founded the American Red Cross in 1881, at age 59, and led it for the next 23 years. Her understanding of the ways she could provide help to people in distress guided her throughout her life. By the force of her personal example, she opened paths to the new field of volunteer service. Her intense devotion to serving others resulted in enough achievements to fill several ordinary lifetimes.”

Barton was working in the U.S. Patent Office in Washington when the Civil War broke out. Like many women, she helped collect bandages and other needed supplies, but she soon realized that she could best aid the troops by providing hands-on assistance by going in person to the battlefields. Barton prodded leaders in the government and the army until she was given passes to bring her voluntary services and medical supplies to the scenes of battle and field hospitals. Following the battle of Cedar Mountain in northern Virginia in August 1862, she appeared at a field hospital at midnight with a wagon-load of supplies drawn by a four-mule team. The overwhelmed surgeon on duty wrote, “I thought that night if heaven ever sent out a[n] . . . angel, she must be one—her assistance was so timely.” Thereafter she was known as the “Angel of the Battlefield” as she served the troops at the battles of Fairfax Station, Chantilly, Harpers Ferry, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Charleston, Petersburg and Cold Harbor. Barton was never satisfied with remaining with medical units at the rear of the column—hours or even days away from a fight. While the battles raged, she and her associates dashed about bringing relief and hope right to the field. She nursed, comforted, and cooked for the wounded. In the face of danger, she wrote, “I always tried . . . to succor the wounded until medical aid and supplies could come up – I could run the risk; it made no difference to anyone if I were shot or taken prisoner.” President Abraham Lincoln wrote: “To the Friends of Missing Persons: Miss Clara Barton has kindly offered to search for the missing prisoners of war. Please address her…giving her the name, regiment, and company of any missing prisoner.” Barton established the Office of Correspondence with Friends of the Missing Men of the United States Army and operated it out of her rooms in Washington for four years. She and her assistants received and answered over 63,000 letters and identified over 22,000 missing men. Years later, Red Cross established a tracing service, one of the organization’s most valued activities. Clara Barton would never be satisfied except by responding to the call of human need.

After the war, in 1869, Barton traveled to Europe. There she became aware of the wider field of service of the Geneva, Switzerland-based International Red Cross (the ICRC), founded five years earlier, which called for international agreements to protect the sick and wounded during wartime and for the formation of national societies to give aid voluntarily on a neutral basis. Upon her return home, Barton was determined that the United States should participate in the global Red Cross network, and would fight hard and successfully for the ratification of the Red Cross treaty by the U.S.

A more immediate call to action occurred in 1870 with the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. Barton knew the needs of victims of battle and went to the war zone with volunteers of the International Red Cross. To protect herself she donned the newly accepted international symbol of the Red Cross. Red Cross leaders in Europe recognized her leadership abilities, and she soon became the ICRC’s official representative in the United States, working to convince government officials suspicious of international agreements of the importance of the Convention. She kept ICRC President Gustave Moynier updated on the progress of her work. Armed with a letter from the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Barton took her appeal to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1877, but he looked on the treaty as a possible “entangling alliance” and rejected it.

Barton met with Hayes’ successor, President James Garfield, and then, at his behest on March 30, Secretary of State James Blaine, and found a sympathetic hearing with both. On May 20, 1881 Blaine wrote Barton with a message for her to deliver to Moynier stating, “Will you be pleased to say to Mr. Moynier, in reply to his letter, that the President of the United States and the officers of this Government are in full sympathy with any wise measures tending toward the amelioration of the suffering incident to warfare.” Barton forwarded the momentous letter proclaiming the interest the U.S. had in joining the Red Cross, and Moynier responded in a letter to Blaine dated June 13, 1881. It was sent to Barton for delivery to Blaine, along with a letter of instructions to Barton herself from the international body. It read: “To the Hon. the Secretary of State, James G. Blaine, Washington: Sir: Miss Clara Barton has just communicated to me the letter which she has had the honor to receive from you, hearing date of May 23, 1881, and I hasten to express to you how much satisfaction I have experienced from it. I do not doubt now, thanks to your favorable consideration and that of President Garfield, that the United States may soon be counted among the number of signers of the Geneva Convention, since you have been kind enough to allow me to hope that the proposition for it will be made to Congress by the Administration. I thank you, as well as President Garfield, for having been willing to take into serious consideration the wish [that the U.S. join].”

At this point the American Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton on May 21, 1881, in her own Washington quarters, and 51 signatures were appended to the draft articles of incorporation. On June 9 she became its president. On July 1, it submitted final articles for incorporation to the District of Columbia, which was then under the jurisdiction of the Recorder of Deeds and the Interior Department ; these differed little from the draft signed in late May. Interesting, the recorder who received the documentation was none other than Frederick Douglass. The Red Cross flag flew officially for the first time in this country in 1881, when Barton issued a public appeal for funds and clothing to aid victims of a devastating forest fire in Michigan. But Garfield was shot on July 2, 1881, the day after the articles were submitted, and died two months later. He could not complete the treat process. Instead, President Chester A. Arthur surprised the new American Red Cross by calling for ratification of the treaty in his first message to Congress. On March 1, 1882, he signed the Convention and the Senate approved it on March 16. The American Red Cross was officially chartered. Barton then lobbied Congress for appropriations for the Red Cross.

The American Red Cross, with Barton at its head, was largely devoted to disaster relief for the first 20 years of its existence. For example, in 1884, she and 50 volunteers arrived in Johnstown, PA to help the survivors of a dam break that caused over 2000 deaths – the famed Johnstown flood. It received its first congressional charter in 1900.

Today the American Red Cross is tasked with providing services to members of American armed forces and their families, as well as providing disaster relief in the U.S. and elsewhere. It developed the first blood donor program. In the last 20 years it has served over one million military families. There are more than 600 locally supported American Red Cross chapters. More than 500,000 volunteers and approximately 35,000 employees provide assistance to the victims of more than 60,000 disasters. More than 9.5 million people are trained in lifesaving skills through a Red Cross class. There are more than 1,600 Red Cross school clubs, and more than 54,000 youth and young adults were involved with a Red Cross club. The American Red Cross is part of the world’s largest humanitarian network with 13 million volunteers in 187 countries. As the Red Cross say, “When an emergency happens, the Red Cross is going to deliver help to whomever needs it and as part of its humanitarian mission.” And all this was founded by Clara Barton.

Barton’s archive

Barton’s Instructions from the International Red Cross to present the U.S. government with Moynier’s letter of June 13 to Blaine expressing delight on hearing of American interest in joining the Red Cross

It also contains a request for a photograph of Barton to place with the other leaders of national Red Cross organizations, constituting official recognition by the international of her position as head of the American Red Cross

Autograph Letter Signed of Gustave Moynier to Clara Barton, 2 pages, Geneva, June 13, 1881, just four days after Barton became president of the American Red Cross, on Comite International de la Croix Rouge stationery. “I just received with great pleasure your letter of the 27th of May, as well as that of Mr. Secretary of State of the 23rd May. These messages prove that, thanks to you, our mission is heading in a favorable direction and I thank you again clear and persevering efforts. I bet you to transmit to Mr. Blaine the attached letter, in order above all to inform him of recent new memberships, which seem of a nature to favorably influence the vote of Congress.” He added a PS: “Would it be indiscrete to solicit your goodness in sending your photograph? I have a collection quite rich of the portraits of the heads of the Red Cross and yours would have a natural place. I would honored so would honor me in compliance with this favor.”

The Original Incorporation Charter of the American Red Cross, completely in Clara Barton’s hand

It stated its purpose as organization of national relief, mitigating the sufferings caused by war, pestilence, famine, and other calamities; and to collect and spread information on the progress of mercy, the advancement of sanitary science

Included are four certifications of the filing, one by Frederick Douglass

Headed: “The American Association of the Red Cross”, it read: “The undersigned all of whom are citizens of the United States of America and a majority of whom are citizens of the District of Columbia desirous of forming an association for benevolent and charitable purposes to cooperate with the Comité International de Secours aux Militaires Blessés of Geneva, Switzerland, do in pursuance of sections 545, 546, 547, 548, 549, 550, and 551 of the Revised Statutes of the United States relating to the District of Columbia make, sign, and acknowledge these ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION. 1. The name of this association shall be the American Association of the Red Cross. 2. The term of its existence shall be for twenty (20) years. 3. The objects of this association shall be: 1st To secure by the United States the adoption of the treaty of August 22 1864 between Italy, Baden, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Spain, Portugal, France, Prussia, Saxony, Wurtemberg, and the Federal Council of Switzerland. 2d To obtain recognition by the Government of the United States and to hold itself in readiness for communicating therewith at all times to the end that its purposes may be more wisely and effectually carried out. 3d To organize a system of national relief and apply the same in mitigating the sufferings caused by war, pestilence, famine, and other calamities. 4th To collect and diffuse information touching the progress of mercy, the organization of national relief, the advancement of sanitary science, and their application. 5th To cooperate with all other similar national societies for the furtherance of the articles herein set forth in such ways as are provided by the regulations governing such co operation. 4. The number of this association to be styled the Executive Board for the first year of its existence shall be eleven (11). In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals at the city of Washington this first day of July A.D. 1881.” It is signed by Barton and four others.

This comes with copies, in Barton’s hand, of four official certifications. R.D Mussey, a commissioner for the District of Columbia, states that Barton and the other four subscribers to the Articles of Incorporation “being personally well known to me to be the persons who signed and sealed the same personally appeared before me…and acknowledged the said Articles of Incorporation to be their free act and deed…” It is dated October 1, 1881. A second certification reads: “I hereby certify that the within and preceding Articles of Incorporation of the American Association of the Red Cross were received for record at my office aforesaid the 7th day of October A.D. 1881 at 3:00pm, and were duly recorded…” This was signed by Frederick Douglass, then the Recorder of Washington, D.C.

The third certification is from the Interior Department and reads: “Be it remembered that Frederick Douglass, who has signed the annexed certificate, is, and was at the time of signing thereof, recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia, and that to his attestations full faith and credit are, and ought to be, duo. In testimony whereof I have subscribed my name, and caused the seal of the Department to be affixed, on this thirty-first day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty-two.” This is signed by H. M. Teller, Secretary of the Interior.

The fourth is from the State Department, signed by Secretary of State Frederick Frelinghuysen, and dated August 1, 1882. “I certify that the document hereunto annexed is under the seal of the Department of the Interior of the United States, and is entitled to full faith and credit. In testimony whereof, I, Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, Secretary of State of the United States, have hereunto subscribed my name and caused the seal of the Department of State to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this first day of August, A. D. 1882, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and seventh.”

The Proclamation of President Chester A. Arthur Ratifying the Treaty of the International Red Cross, All in Barton’s Hand

“Now, therefore, be it known that I, Chester A. Arthur, President of the United States of America, have caused the said Convention Treaty of August 22, 1864, to be made public, to the end that the same and every article and clause thereof may be observed and fulfilled with good faith by the United States and the citizens thereof…”

“By the President of the United States of America: A PROCLAMATION. Whereas, on the twenty-second day of August, 1864, a convention was concluded at Geneva, in Switzerland, between the Grand Duchy of Baden and the Swiss Confederation, the Kingdom of Belgium, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Kingdom of Spain, the French Empire, the Grand Duchy of Hesse, the Kingdom of Italy, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Portugal, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the Kingdom of Würtemberg, for the amelioration of the wounded in armies in the field, the tenor of which convention is hereinafter subjoined: And whereas, the several contracting parties to the said convention exchanged the ratification thereof at Geneva on the twenty-second day of June, 1865; And whereas, the several states hereinafter named have adhered to the said convention in virtue of Article IX. thereof, to wit: Sweden, December 13, 1864; Greece, January 5–17, 1865; Great Britain, February 18, 1865; Mecklenburg-Schwerin, March 9, 1865; Turkey, July 5, 1865; Würtemberg, June 22, 1866; Hesse, June 2, 1866; Bavaria, June 30, 1866; Austria, July 21, 1866; Persia, December 5, 1874; Salvador, December 30, 1874; Montenegro, November 17–29, 1875; Servia, March 24, 1876; Bolivia, October 16, 1879; Chili, November 15, 1879; Argentine Republic, November 25, 1879; Peru, April 22, 1880. And whereas, the Swiss Confederation, in virtue of the said Article IX. of said convention, has invited the United States of America to accede thereto; And whereas, on the twentieth October, 1868, the following additional articles were proposed and signed at Geneva, on behalf of Great Britain, Austria, Baden, Bavaria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, North Germany, Sweden and Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and Würtemberg, the tenor of which Additional Articles is hereinafter subjoined;

“And whereas, the President of the United States of America, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, did, on the first day of March, one thousand eight hundred and eighty-two, declare that the United States accede to the said convention of the twenty-second of August, 1864, and also accede to the said convention of October 20, 1868; And whereas, on the ninth day of June, one thousand eight hundred and eighty-two, the Federal Council of the Swiss Confederation, in virtue of the final provision of a certain minute of the exchange of the ratifications of the said convention at Berne, December 22, 1864, did, by a formal declaration, accept the said adhesion of the United States of America, as well in the name of the Swiss Confederation as in that of the other contracting states; And whereas, furthermore, the Government of the Swiss Confederation has informed the Government of the United States that the exchange of the ratifications of the aforesaid Additional Articles of the twentieth October, 1868, to which the United States of America have, in like manner, adhered as aforesaid, has not yet taken place between the contracting parties, and that these articles cannot be regarded as a treaty in full force and effect;

“Now, therefore, be it known that I, Chester A. Arthur, President of the United States of America, have caused the said Convention Treaty of August 22, 1864, to be made public, to the end that the same and every article and clause thereof may be observed and fulfilled with good faith by the United States and the citizens thereof; reserving, however, the promulgation of the hereinbefore mentioned Additional Articles of October 20, 1868, notwithstanding the accession of the United States of America thereto, until the exchange of the ratifications thereof between the several contracting states shall have been effected, and the said Additional Articles shall have acquired full force and effect as an international treaty. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this twenty-sixth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty-two, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and seventh. Chester A. Arthur.” It is endored “By the President” by Secretary of State Frederick Frelinghuysen. This is certified by John Davis, Assistant Secretary of State, saying “The foregoing is a true copy of the original on file in the Department of State.” It is dated August 9, 1882.

Copy of President Chester A. Arthur’s letter to Red Cross secretary Walter Phillips, all in Barton’s hand from her retained file, announcing his willingness to serve as President of its Board,

A momentous letter in the history of the Red Cross, achieving presidential sanction and participation.

Copy of Letter signed, in Barton’s hand, Executive Mansion, July 5, 1882, to Phillips, who had known Clara Barton since 1878 and served as a secretary to the American Red Cross for over 20 years. “Your letter in regard to the American Association of the Red Cross was duly received. The humane objects of the Association have my full sympathy and support, and if my acceptance of the Presidency of the Board of Consultation will in any way tend to promote the usefulness of the Society, I will assume the trust with pleasure.”

The Red Cross’s First Official “Appeal to the American People” for Support: a Printed Circular

Just 6 days after the U.S. Senate ratified the Red Cross Treaty, and 22 days after President Arthur signed it, the American Red Cross issues its first appeal to the American people for funds

The call is signed by Clara Barton, Robert Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and other notables

In the spring of 1882, there was flooding on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, and much suffering resulted. The Red Cross sprung into action for the first time, issuing the Appeal to the American People a mere six days after the Red Cross Treaty went into effect. It stated: The President having signed the Treaty of the Geneva Conference, and the Senate having, on the 16th instant, ratified the President’s action, the American Association of the Red Cross, organized under provisions of said treaty, purposes to send its agents at once among the sufferers by the recent floods, with a view to the ameliorating of their condition so far as can be done by human aid and the means at hand will permit. Contributions are urgently solicited. Remittances in money may be made to Hon. Charles J. Folger, Secretary of the Treasury, chairman of the board of trustees, or to his associates, Hon. Robert T. Lincoln, Sec’y of War, and Hon. George B. Loring, Commissioner of Agriculture. Contributions of wearing apparel, bedding, and provisions should be addressed to “The Red Cross Agent,” at Memphis, Tenn.; Vicksburg, Miss., and Helena, Ark.” Red Cross chapters were also organized in New Orleans, and Natchez at this time.”

The History of the Founding of the Red Cross, With Its Ambitious Goals: 13 Pages in the Hand of Clara Barton

In it, Barton makes her first proposal for expanding the reach of the Red Cross, with the grand vision of being the instrumentality of relief work nationwide, necessitating establishing local associate branches around the country

She sought Congressional funding for that purpose, saying that the Red Cross could substitute itself, and take the burden of disaster relief off of the government

With relief work immediately at hand, Barton realized that local Red Cross branches would need to be established around the country to be on site for local emergencies. She sought Congressional funding for the purpose. The form she chose was to present a petition, and a draft Bill. They contain her history of the Red Cross, and her audacious plan to make the Red Cross the center for disaster relief in the country. Here is her work, in her own hand. It is 13 pages long.

The Bill: “Whereas: The Treaty of Geneva having been signed by the President, and ratified by the Senate, and a national association contemplated by said treaty under the name and title of the American Association of the Red Cross having been formed at Washington DC…, Therefore Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives that the sum of $25,000 be, and the same is, hereby appropriated out of any monies in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated to enable the American Association of the Red Cross to extend its usefulness by the organization of associate societies throughout United States, with a view to accumulating funds and material in different localities with which to meet demands in emergencies of sufferers by war, pestilence, fire, flood, famine, and other national calamities. Provided, That the Secretary of War, and the Secretary of the Navy, be ex-officio members of the Advisory Board of the American Association of the Red Cross…”

The petition, which is directed to the House and Senate, is from the Red Cross. “That in so much as the Geneva Treaty for the relief of the sick and wounded in war has been signed by the President, and ratified by the Senate, and since funds are required to enable the National Association contemplated by said Treaty to perfect its organization, the attention of Congress may properly be called to its needs.” Following that is Barton’s fascinating description of the formation of the European Red Cross societies. It mentions European war time relief efforts, and says those experiences showed the need “of more efficient and comprehensive means than any then existing.” This led to call for a meeting “to consider ‘A proposition relative to the formation of some permanent organization for the relief of wounded soldiers’.” Decisions were made at the meeting to move forward, and thus “was begun and wrought out the Geneva Treaty, and the plan of all the national permanent relief, or Red Cross organizations.” She then lists the nations who were by then ratified and participating, from Great Britain to Russia to Italy to Argentina, and so many more.

She next turns to the topic of the Red Cross of the United States. There was interest in having the U.S. join the Geneva Treaty in the mid-1860s, but “In the midst of our Civil War, as we were at the time, the subject was very naturally and properly declined.” Post-war efforts were fruitless, and the International Red Cross became “discouraged in its efforts with the United States, but finally it was decided to present it again through Miss Clara Barton and accordingly a letter was addressed to President Hayes by said committee asking his attention to the subject. This letter was duly presented by Miss Barton…” But this effort came to nought, “until the incoming of the Garfield administration, when it was yet again presented by Miss Barton…. Miss Barton had written and spoken of it upon all appropriate occasions, and she found in President Garfield their assurance that the Treaty should be adopted, whereupon in June last, a meeting was called…and was formed the present American Association of which, at the suggestion and by the nomination of President Garfield, Miss Barton was elected president…” She continues, “Meantime President Garfield was assassinated and Mr. Blaine retired from the cabinet, but the views entertained by them were fully shared by President Arthur and Secretary Frelinghuysen. On March 1st the treaty was duly signed and on the 16th of the same month it was unanimously ratified by the Senate.”

She explains that originally Red Cross societies were only authorized to deal with “miseries arriving from war,” but that resolutions establishing the national societies “permit them to organize in accordance with the spirit and needs of their several nationalities. By our geographical position and isolation, we are far less liable to the disturbances of war than are the nations of Europe, but no country is more liable than our own to great overmastering calamities, various, widespread and terrible. Seldom a year passes that the nation is not brought to realize this fact: epidemics, fires, floods, droughts, famine, mining, and other disasters of great extent all bear upon us with terrible force. Like war, these events are entirely out of the common course of…necessities”, and their results in order to be effectively mitigated “must be met by a comprehensive, prompt, and methodical system of relief.” She then discusses the first efforts of the American Red Cross to deal with the forest fires in Michigan and the cost of $10,000.

The first branches of the Red Cross were formed. “These societies were organized through the personal activities of Miss Barton, and are now promptly collecting funds and material under the auspice is of the National Association, towards relieving the necessities of the suffering from the floods in the Mississippi Valley…But most prompt, liberal, and valuable assistance must always come from the associate societies to be located in the larger and more wealthy centers of population. The establishment of these societies is therefore a matter of the supremacist importance. Up to this time all the expenses of the Red Cross, including the printing, publication and organization of associated societies, traveling expenses, no less than the entire cost… have been paid out of the private purse of its president, no government, no person, or no organization having ever contributed any funds toward the furtherance and accomplishments of these objects. Is believed that with the proper means at hand, at least 100 efficient associate societies can be organized within the coming year.” She states that in other countries, the governments have provided funds.

Her desire: “In a word, that we may extend our organization and henceforth relieve the government from the obligation of responding to the constant appeals for humanity, which, in the absence of any instrumentality like that of the Red Cross, it must of necessity continue to assume. Assured that if the aid sought be granted, a system of accumulating funds and material through the charities of the people at large, can be eventually perfected…” Lastly she notes the organization of the American Red Cross, with her as president, Congressman William Lawrence as 1st vice president, Adolphus S. Solomons, a noted Jewish philanthropist as 2nd vice president, and Alexander Y.P. Garnett, President of the American Medical Association, as vice president for Washington, D.C. Though it is undated, the text provides assurance that it was some time in 1882, after President Arthur’s proclamation in March.”

It is not known whether the government provided this funding, but in time the Red Cross did as Barton predicted – made itself the preeminent provider of disaster relief in the country.

The American Red Cross Attains Its First Congressional Charter:

Clara Barton is congratulated on the victory the charter represented, and called the “personification of the Red Cross”, by her successor as head of the Red Cross, Mabel Boardman

This letter meant enough to Barton that she kept it in her personal papers, from which it comes to us today

Though incorporated and chartered in the District of Columbia, that did not meet the ambitions of Barton, the workers and relief providers, and friends of the Red Cross. During the late 1890s several bills were introduced in Congress calling for federal incorporation of the American Red Cross and for protection of the Red Cross insignia (a requirement of all signatories to the Geneva Convention). None were successful, however, until June 6, 1900. After lengthy and heated debate, mostly over commercial use of the red cross emblem, then quite popular, on that day Congress finally granted the American Red Cross its first federal charter.

Mabel Boardman was a Red Cross activist who succeeded Clara Barton as leader of the organization, and served from the time Barton stepped down in 1905 until World War I. In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Boardman the first woman member of the Washington, DC Board of Commissioners. From 1923 until 1944, Boardman would serve as the Director of the Red Cross’s Volunteer Service and oversaw its considerable expansion.

Boardman wrote Barton to congratulate her on the Congressional Charter, thank her for a copy of it, and to tell her that she (Barton) was the very personification of the American Red Cross. Autograph letter signed, on her letterhead, Manchester, Mass., June 18, 1900, to Barton. “Many thanks for your kind letter of June 9 enclosing a copy of the act incorporating the American National Red Cross, which was forwarded from Washington and which I received today. It is certainly a matter for congratulations to the friends of the Red Cross that after years of waiting, this important act has become at last a law. To you, [who] to most of us in America have stood as the personification of the Red Cross Society, must this be a deep and sincere satisfaction. Anything that I am able to do to further to go to work and usefulness of the American National Red Cross, I shall do gladly, and with a heart full of admiration for its noble purpose.

“When notified of the time of the meeting for the re-organization, I will make every effort to attend. My Washington address from where all letters will be forwarded is 1801 P St. In the meantime I remain with best wishes for your own well-being and for the success of the American National Red Cross.”

This letter meant enough to Barton that she kept it in her personal papers, from which it comes to us today.

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