In 1910, the New York World asked Barton to nominate her top eight American women for a Woman’s Hall of Fame. She chose the following:
Lucy Stone Blackwell
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Frances Dana Gage
Mary A. Bickerdyke
Over the following weeks, I hope to report on the work each of these women accomplished to earn a place in Barton’s most admired list. It will be interesting to see how these women compare and contrast, which begs the question, who would Barton nominate from the women who achieved great things after Barton’s death?
Our first nominee is (Mrs John) Abigail Adams.
Photo courtesy of masshist.org
Born Abigail Smith in 1744 at Weymouth, Massachusetts, she died in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1818. Her husband, John, was the second President of the United States and her son, John Quincy was the sixth President of the US. Best known for her published letters to and from her husband advocating for women’s rights and giving insightful advice as his confidante, Abigail raised their six children and managed the family farm largely in his absence.
During the organization of the nation, Adams wrote her husband,
Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.
And her husband replied,
As to your extraordinary code of laws, I cannot but laugh. We have been told that our struggle has loosened the bonds of government everywhere; that children and apprentices were disobedient; that schools and colleges were grown turbulent; that Indians slighted their guardians, and negroes grew insolent to their masters. But your letter was the first intimation that another tribe, more numerous and powerful than all the rest, were grown discontented.– This is rather too coarse a Compliment but you are so saucy, I won’t blot it out. Depend upon it, we know better than to repeal our masculine systems. Although they are in full force, you know they are little more than theory. We dare not exert our power in its full latitude. We are obliged to go fair and softly, and, in practice, you know we are the subjects. We have only the name of masters, and rather than give up this, which would completely subject us to the despotism of the petticoat, I hope General Washington and all our brave heroes would fight; I am sure every good politician would plot, as long as he would against despotism, empire, monarchy, aristocracy, oligarchy, or ochlocracy.**
The Adams’ during his Presidency
Photo courtesy of wickedlocals.com
A friend of Martha Washington, she assisted in conducting parties at the Executive Mansion in Philadelphia, and moved into the White House as first lady during its construction.
One of the most interesting remarks found on the internet was that she did not attend school, as if that damaged the quality of her education. During her lifetime girls generally did not receive an education, but considering the remarkable handwriting and thoughtfulness of her ideas, it seems obvious that a good education could be found outside of school, and in fact can still be found that way today.
The Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM for walk-ins. All other times, the Museum will be open only to groups of 10+. Click here to reserve a group tour.
Opens at 11:00 AM
Last Admission at 4:30 PM
437 7th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20004 Looking for our Mailing Address?
The preserved rooms are accessible by both stairs and elevator.
[She] toiled as few men could have done, stanching wounds which might otherwise have proved fatal, administering cordials to the fainting soldier, cheering those destined to undergo amputation, moistening lips parched with thirst [and closing the eyes of the dead].
An eyewitness account of Clara Barton at Antietam
The patriot blood of my father was warm in my veins.
I may sometimes be willing to teach for nothing, but if paid at all, I shall never do a man’s work for less than a man’s pay.
I don’t know how long it has been since my ear has been free from the roll of a drum. It is the music I sleep by and I love it.
Clara BartonIn a letter to her father, March 19, 1861
I ask neither pay or praise, simply a soldier’s fare and the sanction of your Excellency to go and do with my might, whatever my hands can find to do.
Clara BartonLetter to Massachusetts Governor Andrew, seeking permission to go to the front, March 20, 1862
Though it is little that one woman can do, still I crave the privilege of doing it.
Clara BartonLetter to I.W. Denney, seeking permission to go to the front, March 30, 1862
I only wish I could work to some purpose. I have no right to these easy comfortable days and our poor men suffering and dying thirsting … My lot is too easy and I am sorry for it.
Clara BartonIn a letter to Mary Norton, July 4, 1862
It was a miserable night. There was a sense of impending doom. We knew, everyone knew, that two great armies of 80,000 men were lying there face to face, only waiting for dawn to begin the battle.
Clara BartonWriting about the night before the battle of Antietam
When I reached [home], and looked in the mirror, my face was still the color of gunpowder, a deep blue. Oh yes, I went to the front!
Clara BartonUpon returning from the battle of Antietam