AN ODDLY ETHEREAL AND REFLECTIVE LETTER FROM CLARA BARTON, FOUNDER OF THE AMERICAN RED CROSS, IN THE YEAR OF HER AUTOBIOGRAPHY
BARTON, CLARA. (1821-1912). American humanitarian and founder of the American Red Cross; Her book: the Story of My Childhood was published in1907. Interesting series of two letters written on the same piece of paper. One: Autograph Letter Signed, “Clara Barton” and the other: “C.B.” Four very full pages, octavo. (each letter is 2 pages in length). Meriden, Connecticut, June 3, 1907. Very fine condition. To “My dear Mary and Roscoe” and “Dearest Harriette”. Barton begins this double letter:
“My dear Mary and Roscoe, I am going to beg our beloved Harriette, to, when she gets this far in her scrap of a letter, close it up and post it to you; as it will tell all I could say if I re-wrote; and I want all to know. I can foresee what that Report is to be: so full of progressive steps that no one could reasonably expect. As for me, I do not see how I can wonder anymore than I do, and have done, all the time. I cannot comprehend how it is and has been, all accomplished. Neither do I comprehend how the grass grows, with no apparent culture, no hand touching it—yet it does, and sustains the needy animal. It is a part of the plan. So is this that you do. The Law of the Great Ruler is behind it. It cannot fail. All sunshine, would burn it up. All rain, would discourage and not it, neither will occur and your harvest is assured. What a benign blessing that I may be there to see how it comes on. I may not see it gathered into barns, but it is mine to see it grow.
Its [sic] winter has been cold, and pinching. You have worked manfully to clear off its accumulations. They seemed to even freeze to the ground. But I trust it is over. The spring comes at last and we all gather to see, and be a part of its opening day. I will try to carry out my little part as you direct, when I come as I have specified on the other pages of Harriette’s letter. I think now that I shall see you on Wednesday, and most likely go home with our Sadie at night leaving my trunk at the station till I take it to the Parker House a day or two later, when more settled. Thanks for your letter just here. With all love, yours, Clara Barton.”
She then continues:
“Dearest Harriette: Your beloved letter is just here this cold rainy Monday evening and I am going to ‘talk back’ at once, as the time grows so short there is no time to lose. I do think it will be restful for all the Boston fraternity when that prophetic ‘Z’ shall have passed its zenith, and we are down to common figures. Won’t you all draw a long breath, when you write June 8th? My little part of a little work, here, is about completed and I think I may say I will leave Meriden for Boston on Wednesday. It will not be necessary to meet me, as some one of Mr. Atwater’s men will be with me. You will recollect that he has a business office in Boston and that does not mean, either, that arrangements need to be made to provide for me as I will be likely to go up to Worcester with Sadie. Indeed I see no way I can get Worcester and Oxford in to my little plan, only by taking them at night. And Sadie is so sure and skilled an escort it would be a pity not to utilize her. Letters tell me that all moves on as usual at home. All still ‘in status quo’ but with ‘great expectations’. I fear we are to lose the pleasure of the presence of Dr. Hubbell’s brother and niece from Seneca Falls. They begin to write doubtfully. I have expended my power on the Gardners but with no assurance of success. Also our Legal Members—Fulton and Stebbins. I am prepared to miss them all and yet one may come. Journeys are difficult. I know. Lovingly always, C.B.”
This letter deserves further research, as the many inferences and illusions to subtle facets of her life, we are sure would be revealed.