The Story of My Childhood


Clara Barton, the popular name of Clarissa Harlowe Barton (1821–1912), is best known as the founder of the American Red Cross. She worked as a schoolteacher from 1836 to 1854 and later as a copyist in the U.S. Patent Office in Washington, DC. During the American Civil War, she organized relief for wounded soldiers and became known as the “Angel of the Battlefield.” She later worked for the International Red Cross during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. She established the U.S. branch of the Red Cross in 1881, and served as the organization’s president from 1881 to 1904. Barton wrote The Story of My Childhood in retirement at her home in Glen Echo, Maryland. Her purpose in writing the book, she explained in the preface, was to respond to requests from children who were studying her in their American history classes at school and wanted to know more about her life and career. The book recounts her life growing up on a farm in Oxford, Massachusetts, as the youngest of ten children and recalls two formative experiences that shaped her later work: nursing her brother David back to health after he was seriously injured in an accident, and becoming an elementary-school teacher at age 17.

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Subject Date

Publication Information

Baker & Taylor Company, New York


Type of Item

Physical Description

125 pages : frontispiece, plates, portraits ; 15 centimeters


  1. American Red Cross, “Founder Clara Barton,”
  2. Elizabeth B. Pryor. "Barton, Clara," American National Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).

Last updated: May 24, 2017