A letter by Clara Barton, president of the American Red Cross, to May Wright Sewall, president of the National Council of Women, 1888.
Clara Barton was often referred to as “The Angel of the Battlefield” because of her work helping wounded soldiers during the American Civil War. Following the war, Barton met activists such as Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass and became affiliated with women’s rights and civil rights activism. Barton founded the American Red Cross (ARC) in 1881. In this letter, Barton is responding to a request by May Wright Sewall, who wanted the ARC to become an ally of the National Council of Women. May Wright Sewall was an activist most known for her work in the suffrage movement. She served as the president of the National Council of Woman of the United States from 1897 to 1899.
Washington DC. July 6/88
Dear May Wright Sewall:
My beloved friend
I pray you will not take for granted any thing which I may or may not do, but always proceed to tell one plainly what I ought to do.
I will be most happy to lay before our meeting the subject of the organization of the Red Cross becoming an ally of the National Council & will give you the result before the 1st of October.
I look for the greatest progress and immense results from the “National Council,” its five officers form a galaxy of power & strength, and it will lay a reforming and healing hand on all needy points.
I was at “Wellesley” and at “Lasselle” [sic] two weeks ago. And I thought of your institution and wished I could see it[?].
I missed you at the Boston Convention - it was excellent and popular. And dear Lucy Stone was as sweet and calm as a summary morning. It was a filling finale to the great and grand meeting which so honored hour national Capital and where we did not miss you. In dear love & appreciation I am Always your Clara Barton