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Barton, Clara.

LETTER: TLS to W. W. Howard.


Letter from Clara Barton on her Dissatisfaction with the
Red Cross Senate Bill
Barton, Clara. Typed letter signed, "Clara Barton," to "My dear Mr. [William Willard] Howard." Washington, D.C.: March 28, 1900; one leaf American Red Cross letterhead; creased where folded; recto only.
A letter from Barton to William W. Howard, a wealthy New Yorker who took up many international humanitarian relief efforts. Barton's letter expresses her dissatisfaction with what is likely the genesis of the Congressional bill chartering the American Red Cross. She writes in part,
The Senate bill was as near right as any present scotched Red Cross bill could be. I have long ceased to have much interest in it. Not only bodies but spirits wear out…There is yet one more sieve for a last screening, but whether for the better or the worse, remains to be seen...I'm glad you took up India. I wish it were with the Red Cross...
The end of Barton's letter hints at a relationship with Howard deeper than a professional query letter, as she concludes, "Again, I thank you for your interest. I know it is unselfish, I know it is friendly, I know it is right. I am glad that I know you…It makes me homesick to write to you. There is something in my eyes-and something in my voice…Good-by…Come and see us when you can."
The future would complicate the relationship between the Red Cross, Barton, and Howard. Despite his initial philanthropic interest elsewhere, Howard would eventually offer to help the Red Cross by using his influence to raise funds for the organization. That fall, Barton and Howard lost contact when Barton was dispatched to Galveston following the 1900 Texas hurricane. Later, when she finally
requested information about the funds [Howard] had collected, he refused to give her a direct answer, and Barton was forced to take the matter to the board. Incensed at what they perceived as Barton's mismanagement and afraid that Howard had collected funds under the name of the Red Cross and pocketed the return, the board demanded an explanation. Howard, claiming that he had collected no money and that he had a "special relationship" with Barton, refused to deal with any other Red Cross officers. At length Barton quietly requested him to close his 'work,' which he did. (Clara Barton: Professional Angel, by Elizabeth Brown Pryor, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988, pp. 330-331).

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