DC -- Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office -- Exhibit: Standard Placards:
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CBMSOP_181018_04.JPG: Living in Washington in the 1860s
On 7th Street in central Washington you could buy a watch, eat a meal and find a place to live. On the street level, businesses flourished, while on the upper floors, rooms were rented out to government employees who worked in nearby offices. A boarding house, unlike today's hotels, was simply sleeping rooms and residents shared public spaces -- privies (often behind the commercial spaces in the alleys), parlors and sometimes dining rooms adjoining kitchens where meals (or board) or provided for residents.
Long before today's apartment buildings, boarding houses were often the choice for single people, temporary residents, and poor families who could not afford their own houses. Many boarding houses are run by women; a respectable role if one had been widowed or orphaned. Most lived alongside the borders, but some more absentee landlords.
From 1850 to 1860 the population of the District of Columbia more than doubled, raising the cost of housing and supporting the need for boarding houses across the city. The Civil War brought to the city more government workers, military support staff, relief workers, freedmen and relatives in search of missing soldiers.
The Surratt boarding house on H Street, NW, between 1890 and 1910.
The Petersen boarding house on 10th Street, NW, circa 1900, which is famous as the house for President Abraham Lincoln died after being shot at nearby Ford's Theatre.
The recreated front parlor of the Peterson house, which shows the typical common area of an upscale boarding house in 1865.
CBMSOP_181018_08.JPG: The Surratt boarding house on H Street, NW, between 1890 and 1910
CBMSOP_181018_10.JPG: The Petersen boarding house on 10th Street, NW, circa 1900, which is famous as the house for President Abraham Lincoln died after being shot at nearby Ford's Theatre.
CBMSOP_181018_12.JPG: The recreated front parlor of the Peterson house, which shows the typical common area of an upscale boarding house in 1865.
CBMSOP_181018_15.JPG: The building at 437 - 441 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC
Clara Barton first moved into this building in June of 1861. She sublet her room from Edward Shaw, a friend and fellow government copyist, who rented the entire third floor from the landlord, Susan Ireland. Between 1853, when the building was erected, in 1865, the third floor consisted of six rooms. In 1865 an addition was added to the rear, which increase the capacity of the boardinghouse and allowed for a shared dining room, kitchen and indoor pretty.
The present-day layout of the third floor has the three rooms at the very front of the building (Room 7, Room 9 and Room 11) as one large space with the original dividing walls removed. A partition blocks off a small section of the north end of Room 11, which was likely Barton's private area. This large room was the location of the Missing Soldiers Office, the three rooms across the hall (Room 8, Room 10 and Room 12) retain their original sizes, but Room 10 has been recently modified to allow a secondary access to the rear addition.
A light well was incorporated between the original building and the 1865 addition to allow light into the interior rooms. Presently, there is a modern walkway across the light well connecting the original and 1865 sections. Two of the rooms in the addition have been recently modified. The north room is the location of a modern stairway. The original kitchen and the indoor privy area have been removed in order to install an elevator. However, the original pass-through cabinet between the kitchen and dining room has been retained.
"For eight years, beginning with the outbreak of the Civil War, she had lived in rooms on the third floor of the business block. The two flights of stairs and the unpretentiousness of the surroundings had not kept her friends away."
-- William Eleazer Barton, in the Life of Clara Barton, Founder of the American Red Cross, Vol. 1, 1922.
"... and next I was to leave everything else and fit up my little parlor with its cabinet of relics and my business... I must see people if I would get their interest and I must have a suitable place to see them in and where they wouldn't enter into the spirit of my enterprise."
-- Clara Barton diary, December 22, 1865
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Generally-Related Subject Description: "I have an almost complete disregard of precedent, and a faith in the possibility of something better. It irritates me to be told how things have always been done. I defy the tyranny of precedent." -Clara Barton (1821 to 1912)
Clara Barton's life of service has been a role model for generations of nurses, teachers, social workers, doctors, and allied health professionals. A new generation of executives and public servants value the leadership and strong work ethic she exhibited with profound dedication to her cause. She cared little for personal comforts, instead choosing to comfort others.
In her time, Barton was called a philanthropist. Although that term today often connotes someone who has money and gives some of it to help others, in the 19th century it had a more direct meaning: one who for love of his fellow men exerts himself for their well-being. Her work during the Civil War is a striking example of true philanthropy: how one individual can make a difference in the lives of others.
"What she did in nursing is incredibly important and we don’t want to diminish that at all. But to say that Clara Barton is a nurse is a gross understatement of her importance. The fact is that she was a relief organizer at a time when women didn’t do that. At a time when women found that they had to get men involved in order to be taken seriously, Clara Barton bucked that system." George Wunderlich, Executive Director, NMCWM
Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office was originally rediscovered by Richard Lyons of the General Services Administration (GSA) in 1996, when the building was scheduled for demolition. Located on 7th street, NW, Washington D.C., the site is the location where Clara Barton lived during and immediately after the Civil War. She used this property not only as a place to live, but also to store the supplies she received for her work on the battlefield, and later as an office to handle correspondence concerning missing soldiers.
2018 photos: Equipment this year: I continued to use my Fuji XS-1 cameras but, depending on the event, I also used a Nikon D7000.
Trips this year:
(February) a Civil War Trust conference in Greenville, NC,
(May/June) anual American Battlefield Trust conference in Newport News, VA,
(July) my 13th consecutive trip to San Diego Comic-Con via Reno, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles,
(August) 2 two-day trips to New York City,
(September) an American Battlefield Trust dinner in Chicago, IL with on-route visits to Charleston, WV, Louisville, KY, Saint Louis, MO, and Toledo, OH,
(October) another two-day trip to New York City for the New York Comic Con.
Number of photos taken this year: about 535,000.