Signed Photograph of Clara Barton

Collection ID





ca. 1881


United States






5.9 × 4 × 0.03 in. (15.1 × 10.3 × 0.1 cm)

Exhibit Location

Not on View

This photograph of Clara Barton (1821–1912) was taken at her residence in Dansville, New York, and is inscribed by Barton to Her Imperial Highness Princess Wilhelmine of Baden. From the beginning of bloodshed in the American Civil War, Barton provided clothing, food, and medical supplies for sick and wounded soldiers, nursing them to health. She continued to help support the Union and run field hospitals throughout the war. Barton’s work on the battlefield won her the nickname, the "Florence Nightingale of America." After the war, she traveled to Europe and was introduced to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), leading Barton to establish the American Red Cross in 1881.

Created before 1881, Dansville, New York, and in possession of Clara Barton in March 1881.[1] Purchased at auction in 2003 by Gene Albert (Christian Heritage Museum), Hagerstown, Maryland;[2] Privately purchased in 2010 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Donated in 2017 to National Christian Foundation (later The Signatry), under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] The photograph is pasted to a cardboard piece. The back reads, “To Her Imperial Highness Princess Wilhelmine of Baden, with compliments of Clara Barton. Washington D.C. U.S. of America, March 1881.” Despite the dedication, it is unclear to whom Barton was sending this, but research indicates it was likely Maria Alexandrovna. Maria Alexandrovna, born Maximiliane Wilhelmine Auguste Sophie Marie, was empress consort of Russia. When she arrived in Russia in 1840, she changed her name from Wilhelmine Marie to Maria Alexandrovna. She started the Russian Red Cross, but she died in 1880, the year before this picture was signed. Perhaps news of her death had not reached Barton, or the date of the inscription was an error. [2] R. M. Smythe & Co., Inc. Public Auction #233, Autumn 2003 Autograph Auction, November 6, 2003, Lot 263.

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