Clara Barton Quotes

Clara Barton Quotes

“It was May—the cherry trees were in bloom. For the first time in three years I had been able to sit for an evening among a company of persons (invalids like myself seeking strength), trying to entertain them with some remembrances of bygone days. I see it still, the broad parlor of that grand old ‘Hillside Home,’ the mother and inspiration of all the hundreds of sanitariums and health restoring institutions of the country to-day. I had made my home near it, at the foot of the blossoming orchard.

Down among the trees and twittering robins next morning came one of my listeners; a broad-shouldered, manly looking man, the face so full of benign intelligence that once seen was never to be forgotten. He came in at the open door, merrily shaking off the cherry blossoms like large flakes of early snow, an entire stranger to me until the previous evening. He seated himself and entered into conversation with a familiar ease that bespoke the cultured gentleman. After a few minutes he turned earnestly to me with: ‘Miss Barton, I have an errand in coming to you. I have a request to make.’

I said I hoped I should be able to comply. He hesitated, as if thinking how to commence, but at length said: “I want you to recall and write the first thing you remember—the first event that made sufficient impression upon you to be remembered.”

I waited in silence and he went on:

‘And then I want you to write the next, and then the next, and so on, until you have written all—everything connected with yourself and your life that you can recall. I want it; we want it; the world wants it, and again I ask you to do it. Can you promise me?’

His earnest manner demanded an earnest reply. I could not promise to do it, but would promise to consider it.

This was in the spring of 1876. I have never forgotten the request through all these thirty-one busy years, and have carefully kept the promise to consider it; and to-night take my pencil to describe the first moment of my life that I remember.”

Clara Barton quotes on her upbringing:

“In these later years I have observed that writers of sketches, in a friendly desire to compliment me, have been wont to dwell upon my courage, representing me as personally devoid of fear, not even knowing the feeling. However correct that may have become, it is evident I was not constructed that way, as in the earlier years of my life I remember nothing but fear.”

“My timid sensitiveness must have given great annoyance to my friends. If I ever could have gotten entirely over it, it would have given far less annoyance and trouble to myself all through life.

To this day, I would rather stand behind the lines of artillery at Antietam, or cross the pontoon bridge under fire at Fredericksburg, than to be expected to preside at a public meeting.”

Clara Barton quotes on work for the Army during the U.S. Civil War:

“I shall remain here while anyone remains, and do whatever comes to my hand. I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them.”

“I feel while passing through [the camps], that they could be better supplied without danger of enervation from luxuries. Still it is said that ‘our army is supplied.’ It is said also, upon the same authority, that we “need no nurses,” either male or female, and none are admitted.”

Clara Barton, 1864
Clara Barton, 1864

“Clara Barton Quotes” sources:

Quotes: Clara Barton: First Aid Practitioner, Educator, and Advocate – Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum / “The Story of my Childhood” by Clara Barton. Published by The Baker & Taylor Co., New York, 1907. Copyright, 1907, by The Journal Publishing Co., Meriden, Conn. – Project Gutenberg

Portrait: Clara Barton, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <> & Wikimedia Commons


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