Friday, May 29, 2009

Clara Barton's Home Part 2

Hi Sallie here, On Sunday around 2pm, I went back to the Clara Barton House after a great picnic lunch with my friend Sarah and her family. I went to listen to an actress, Ms. Mary Ann Jung, who portrays Clara Barton. Ms. Jung does a terrific first-person impression of Clara Barton. 

Here are some facts that I learned during the presentation: 
  • Clara started school at age 3 
  • When Clara first became a nurse, she had no experience
  • She became a teacher at age 17, again with no formal training 
  • Clara went to Bordentown, NJ where she setup a free school in 1852 
  • There were 6 kids in her first year of teaching and 600 in her 2nd year 
  • She quit teaching because she was being paid less than the male teacher 
  • In 1854, Clara moved to Washington DC (called Washington City by Clara) 
  • She got a job in the Patent Office and was the first female to work for the Federal Government 
  • The U.S. flag had 33 stars prior to the start of the Civil War in 1861 
  • The North had about 1,000 more casualties than the South during First Bull Run 
  • During the Civil War nurses were not trained 
  • Clara worked with male nurses who did not respect her 
  • Clara had 5 tons of supplies for wounded soldiers that were donated by friends and supporters 
  • Her first battle was at Cedar Mountain 
  • Clara also helped Confederate soldiers because they too needed her help 
  • Her first battlefield surgery was at Antietam in September 1862 where she removed a bullet from the cheek of a Union soldier 
  • After the war, many soldiers named their daughters after Clara to honor her and it became the most popular name of the time 
  • When President Lincoln died, Clara couldn't leave her apartment for 10 days 
  • If you wanted to hear Clara give a speech, it would cost you $.25 
  • It took Clara 9 years to sign the agreement creating the American Read Cross 
  • In March 1883, the United States signed the Geneva Convention treaty 
  • Established the National First Aid Association of America in 1904
  • In 1905, Clara created the very first 1st Aid Kit 
  • Clara was not in Gettysburg because she was at Charleston, SC expecting a big battle 

After the presentation, I got a chance to interview Clara. She told me that when her brother David fell off the barn roof and she nursed him back to health, it showed that she had a caring heart not leading for her to become a nurse. Seeing all of the wounded and sick soldiers in Washington City caused her to become a nurse. She also said that it was very hard work at the Poffenburger farm at Antietam. There were so many wounded soldiers that she had to make sure there were enough supplies for each soldier. But according to Clara, there were never enough supplies: bandages, blankets, socks, food, soap and the surgeons never had enough medicines, especially painkillers. During the battle of Antietam, when she was giving a young soldier, a bullet passed through her sleeve and killed the soldier in her arms. She never fixed the hole in her sleeve in honor of that soldier. 

Finally, I asked Ms. Jung What about Clara Barton inspired her to portray Clara. She chose Clara because she has ties to Maryland, but more importantly, to the nation and the world.  Here was a shy woman told she didn't belong on the battlefield yet she continually faced the most harrowing and gruesome circumstances to save lives.  There are few people in history whose actions have literally affected millions of lives and continue to to this day

For pictures of Clara's house check out my Flickr page

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