Clara Barton’s Efforts to Identify Missing Civil War Soldiers
Celebrate Women's History Month at the Library with Bonnie Mangan, retired librarian from the Library of Congress, who will discuss Clara Barton's work on behalf of missing Civil War soldiers.
Clara Barton is often identified as a Civil War nurse and the founder of the American Red Cross. A lesser known fact about Barton is that, between the end of the Civil War and her introduction to the Red Cross in Switzerland, she sought to find out what happened to the thousands of unknown Union dead. Barton considered the naming of the dead an obligation of the nation that sent so many to an unaccounted death far from home.
Though Barton’s work on behalf of the missing was undertaken independently of the government’s (as Clara often preferred) they were part of the overall national program to honor those who gave the last full measure. In 1996, a GSA employee inspecting the building at 437 7th St. NW Washington DC, that was slated to be demolished for redevelopment, rediscovered the Missing Soldiers Office and Barton artifacts. The site is now a museum and part of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.