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A Woman of the Century:   A Crowdsourcing Project of the Nineteenth and Twenty-First Centuries

December 24 - December 30

Women of the Week

Nurse and philanthropist Clara Barton, author Susan Arnold Elston Wallace, and poet Florence Byrne Cartwright are this week's Women of the Week.   

  • To learn about them by viewing their items, please click on their images.  

  • To read their biographical sketches in A Woman of the Century, please click on the highlighted page numbers to the left of their images.

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BARTON, Miss Clara

December 25, 1821


North Oxford, MA

p. 60-61

Clara Barton, a native of North Oxford, Massachusetts, is best known as the founder of the American Red Cross.  She was born on December 25, 1821, the youngest child of Stephen and Sara Stone Barton.  Clara grew up in North Oxford and lived near her cousin, Martha Elvira Stone.  When she was young, Clara taught in North Oxford and worked part-time in a cotton mill.

After teaching in North Oxford for many years, she moved to Clinton, New York, to enroll in the Clinton Liberal Institute.  She opened a school in Bordentown, New Jersey, and later relocated to Washington, D.C. to work at the United States Patent Office. During the Civil War, Clara tended to wounded soldiers after numerous battles. She became known as "The Angel of the Battlefield." When the war was over, she became very involved with The Office of Correspondence with Friends of the Missing Men of the United States Army in Washington, D.C.  In 1867, after meeting Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, Clara became involved in working for suffrage.

Later, while in Europe, Clara learned about the International Red Cross and served as part of the relief corps during the Franco-Prussian War.  Clara fought to establish the American Red Cross, and in March of 1881, she became the new organization's leader.  After many years of work with the American Red Cross, Clara resigned in 1904 and formed the National First Aid Association of America.

In addition to the activities noted above, over the course of her career, Clara was an author, a reformer, a public speaker, a philanthropist, and the Superintendent of a Repository Prison for Women.

Clara passed away on April 12, 1912, at her home in Glen Echo, Maryland, and was buried in North Cemetery in Oxford, Massachusetts.

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WALLACE, Mrs. Susan Arnold Elston

December 25, 1830


Crawfordsville, IN

p. 742

Susan Arnold Elston Wallace was born in Crawfordsville, Indiana, on December 25, 1830.  After going to school in Quaker Hill, New York, Susan returned to Crawfordsville.  She later married Lew Wallace and became a mother. 

Since her husband's career took the family to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Constantinople, Turkey, Susan had a great deal of material to write about.  She wrote several books, including The Land of the Pueblos, and contributed to The Atlantic MonthlyThe IndependentLiteratureThe New York Tribune, and other periodicals.   In addition to his political work, Lew Wallace was an author who penned Ben-Hur.  Zerelda Gray Wallace, his stepmother, was a temperance reformer, woman suffragist, and author.  She is also in A Woman of the Century.

The Wallaces retired to Crawfordsville, Indiana.  Both wrote, and their home was "a literary and social center" (A Woman of the Century, 742).  Susan passed away on October 1, 1907.

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CARTWRIGHT, Mrs. Florence Byrne

December 27, 1863


Galena, IL

p. 157-158

Florence Byrne Cartwright was born in Galena, Illinois, on December 27, 1863. She resided in Grass Valley, California, where she became postmistress in December of 1887, following the death of postmaster father. 

After meeting her husband, Richard Cartwright, in June of 1890, she moved to Salem, Oregon.  Florence devoted her life to her literary work and made an earnest living traveling throughout the world. She wrote various works, including a sestina featured in the May 1884 volume of Harper's Magazine.  Florence's preferred and favorite style of poetry was sonnets.

Florence passed away on September 22, 1944, and is buried in Mount Crest Abbey Mausoleum in Salem, Oregon.