One basic rule of business is to network – make connections – with people that are peers, suppliers, in the non-profit world, potential funders, and fans to use when necessary to grow. If a positive personal relationship is developed, one can usually barter for what they need – a productive symbiotic relationship that benefits everyone. There is no evidence that Clara Barton ever took a business class or read any self-help books about building support for her work, but she was born with an innate ability to network and connect those who could help her that ought to be the envy of all due to her extraordinary success. This support system is rarely mentioned, these important people rarely recognized. In fact, I lobbied for their inclusion as part of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine’s upcoming Missing Soldiers Office (MSO) Museum in Washington, but there is just not enough space or time to cover all of Barton much less anyone else. To get these critically important supporters recognized, for their stories are also very interesting and informative, I will have to do that here on the blog.
The list of supporters is a long one, her humanitarian career lasted over 50 years. In fact, her support prior to the war in education and as an independent woman continued to offer help after her focus changed drastically. Just as the U.S. military could not have won the Civil War without the significant help it received from civilians, Clara Barton would be lost to history if not for her friends and fans all over the U. S. A. I have attempted to list these American patriots in something of the level of assistance they gave Barton, although it is all arguable. I am sure to miss quite a few important people since my research has revolved primarily around the Civil War era, and not the later Red Cross years at this point. Most family members are not listed due to their obvious support. My list includes (but is not limited to):
Vice President Henry Wilson – US Senator during the Civil War and Chairman of the Senate Military Senate Affairs Committee, gave significant emotional and material support until his death.
Nephew Stephen E. Barton
– Gave emotional and material support all through his adult years.
General Daniel H. Rucker – First officer to assist Barton in getting to the battlefield. In command of the Washington Supply Depots when she first met him, he would eventually be Quartermaster General of the Army. Barton transportation, additional supplies and passes to battlefields.
General William A. Hammond
– similar support to Rucker, happy to use Barton to get supplies to the field faster. Sent valuable supplies forward with her for faster delivery.
President Abraham Lincoln
– Published a notice naming Barton as head of search for missing soldiers. She never met him in person, although they were in close proximity several times.
Secretary of War Edwin Stanton
– Gave Barton her only official status as a nurse during the war. When she finally met him in 1865 she was pleasantly surprised to see him walk towards her with hand extended and a smile after hearing of his reputation for roughness.
General Benjamin Butler
– Got Barton out to the field in 1864, gave her temporary women’s prison reform job after the war.
Frances D. Gage – Barton called her Aunt Fannie and she gave tremendous emotional support. Mrs. Gage helped Barton establish and create funding opportunities for the Missing Soldiers Office.
– Made most of Barton’s clothes at no cost during the war. Rallied Women’s Aid Societies in Massachusetts to send Barton supplies.
– supplied Barton with names of over 13,000 soldiers unreportedly buried at Andersonville Prison, Georgia. Acted as Barton’s escort and co-speaker during her initial lecture circuit.
– worked at MSO and provided place for Barton to stay in Europe.
General John J. Elwell
– Provided emotional support during Barton’s stay in South Carolina. Quartered in a room down the hall, Elwell escorted Barton on many horseback rides, picnics, and dining.
– Sublet Barton her rooms on 7th Street during the War. Helped her work at the MSO.
General U.S. Grant
– gave Barton and one companion free transportation to assist with MSO and endorsed her work.
Honorable Alexander DeWitt
– introduced Barton to Massachusetts society in Washington and helped her get work at the Patent Office.
Dr. Jullian Hubbell
– led field work for Barton during the Red Cross years. Barton’s trust of Hubbell cut back on how many disasters she felt compelled to attend to personally. For his loyalty and friendship, Barton left him the Glen Echo home in her will.
General Ethan Allen Hitchcock
– endorsed Barton’s work, writing her introduction to the Provost Marshall in Annapolis and concurring with Generals Rucker and Grant, and (approved by) President Johnson regarding government printing of the Rolls of Missing Men.
I hope you enjoyed meeting some of Clara Barton’s best friends and supporters.