The role of gender, phrenology, discrimination and nervous prostration in Clara Barton's career

Abstract

Clara Barton was 39 years old before she became involved in Civil War humanitarian activities. Prior to that time, three factors shaped her personality and her future: phrenology gave her philosophical principles to live by, especially “Know Thyself”; sex discrimination on her first two jobs steeled her for living in a male dominated Victorian era; and psychohygienic therapy for her long term nervous prostration, changed her behavioral approach to illness and to life. With these three influences in hand. Barton went on to gain world-wide adulation. During the Civil War, she was revered as the American Florence Nightingale, although she was not really a nurse. At age 55, Barton first embarked on the lengthy struggle to found the American Red Cross. She was president of the Red Cross for 23 years and rendered aid and comfort at a host of national and international calamities. She died at age 90 in her Glen Echo, Maryland home on April 12, 1912.

DOI: 10.1007/BF02277066

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Cite this paper

@article{Spiegel1995TheRO, title={The role of gender, phrenology, discrimination and nervous prostration in Clara Barton's career}, author={MPH Allen D. Spiegel}, journal={Journal of Community Health}, year={1995}, volume={20}, pages={501-526} }