Barton was the President of the American National Red Cross for twenty-two years. Under her leadership, she adopted the framework of the Red Cross to fit the needs of the United States not only during wartime but in peacetime. The Red Cross's early work included aiding victims and workers in the floods of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers in 1882 and 1884, the Texas famine of 1886, the Florida yellow fever epidemic in 1887, an earthquake in Illinois in 1888, and the 1889 Johnstown, Pennsylvania disaster/flood. Internationally, countries noticed and recognized the need for such peacetime as
Clara Barton was born in Oxford, Massachusetts where she worked as a school teacher. She began teaching at a time when most teachers were men, and initially refused a teaching position unless she received equal pay. In 1854 Barton moved to Washington DC to work as a clerk in the US Patent Office, where she would become the first woman to hold a public position in the federal government, and at a salary equal to that of her male peers ($1,400 a year).
Clarissa Harlowe Barton (1821-1912), known as Clara, is best remembered for founding the American Red Cross in 1881. With the emergence of the Civil War, Barton refused to take a salary from the government's treasury and dedicated herself aiding soldiers on the front. Never before had women been allowed in hospitals, camps or on battlefields; initially, military and civil officials declined her help. Eventually, she gained the trust of these officials and began receiving supplies from all over the country. As a result of her untiring work, she became known as the "Angel of the Battlefi