DC -- Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office -- Peter Waddell Mural:
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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.