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35 Clara Barton Quotes from the Angel of the Battlefield

Known as the Angel of the Battlefield, she was a strong and determined woman as you’ll see in these Clara Barton quotes.

Clara Barton was just one woman, but she made a huge difference. While she began her career as a teacher, since it’s one of the only jobs women held during that time, her future path took her down many different roads.

During the Civil War, she began collecting and delivering much-needed supplies, including medical supplies, to soldiers. She even pushed to be approved to go into the field to care for the men.

While this work is why she is known as a hero of the Civil War, it was just the start to something even bigger. She ended up founding the American Red Cross and acting as the first president for the organization. Enjoy these Clara Barton quotes.

Don’t forget to also check out these Florence Nightingale quotes on life, communication and nursing.

Inspirational Clara Barton Quotes

1. “It irritates me to be told how things have always been done. I defy the tyranny of precedent. I cannot afford the luxury of a closed mind.” – Clara Barton

2. “You must never so much think as whether you like it or not, whether it is bearable or not; you must never think of anything except the need, and how to meet it.” – Clara Barton

3. “I have an almost complete disregard of precedent and a faith in the possibility of something better.” – Clara Barton

4. “People should not say that this or that is not worth learning, giving as their reason that it will not be put to use. They can no more know what information they will need in the future than they will know the weather two hundred years from today.” – Clara Barton

5. “The door that nobody else will go in at, seems always to swing open widely for me.” – Clara Barton

Wise Clara Barton Quotes

6. “The surest test of discipline is its absence.” – Clara Barton

7. “It is wise statesmanship which suggests that in time of peace we must prepare for war, and it is no less a wise benevolence that makes preparation in the hour of peace for assuaging the ills that are sure to accompany war.” – Clara Barton

8. “I go for anything new that might improve the past.” – Clara Barton

9. “If woman alone had suffered under these mistaken traditions [or woman’s subordination], if she could have borne the evil by herself, it would have been less pitiful, but her brother man, in the laws he created and ignorantly worshipped, has suffered with her. He has lost her highest help; he has crippled the intelligence he needed; he has belittled the very source of his own being and dwarfed the image of his Maker.” – Clara Barton

10. “I may sometimes be willing to teach for nothing, but if paid at all, I shall never do a man’s work for less than a man’s pay.” – Clara Barton

Clara Barton quotes about the Red Cross

11. “The Red Cross in its nature, it aims and purposes, and consequently, its methods, is unlike any other organization in the country. It is an organization of physical action, of instantaneous action, at the spur of the moment; it cannot await the ordinary deliberation of organized bodies if it would be of use to suffering humanity, it has by its nature a field of its own.” – Clara Barton

12. “I founded the American Red Cross.” – Clara Barton

13. “Although its growth may seem to have been slow, it is to be remembered that it is not a shrub, or plant, to shoot up in the summer and wither in the frosts. The Red Cross is a part of us – it has come to stay – and like the sturdy oak, its spreading branches shall yet encompass and shelter the relief of the nation.” – Clara Barton

Clara Barton Quotes about war

14. “I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them.” – Clara Barton

15. “I don’t know how long it has been since my ear has been free from the roll of a drum. It is the music I sleep by, and I love it… I shall remain here while anyone remains, and do whatever comes to my hand.” – Clara Barton

16. “I wonder if a soldier ever does mend a bullet hole in his coat?” – Clara Barton

17. “What could I do but go with them Civil War soldiers, or work for them and my country? The patriot blood of my father was warm in my veins.” – Clara Barton

18. “This conflict is one thing I’ve been waiting for. I’m well and strong and young – young enough to go to the front. If I can’t be a soldier, I’ll help soldiers.” – Clara Barton

19. “A ball had passed between my body and the right arm which supported him, cutting through the sleeve and passing through his chest from shoulder to shoulder. There was no more to be done for him and I left him to his rest. I have never mended that hold in my sleeve.” – Clara Barton

20. “What armies and how much of war I have seen, what thousands of marching troops, what fields of slain, what prisons, what hospitals, what ruins, what cities in ashes, what hunger and nakedness, what orphanages, what widowhood, what wrongs and what vengeance.” – Clara Barton
If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of war quotes from writers, politicians, and more.

More Clara Barton quotes

21. “Offering a hand up is not a hand-out.” – Clara Barton

22. “I have never worked for fame or praise, and shall not feel their loss as I otherwise would. I have never for a moment lost sight of the humble life I was born to, its small environments, and the consequently little right I had to expect much of myself, and shall have the less to censure, or upbraid myself with for the failures I must see myself make.” – Clara Barton

23.“My business is staunching blood and feeding fainting men; my post the open field between the bullet and the hospital. I sometimes discuss the application of a compress or a wisp of hay under a broken limb, but not the bearing and merits of a political movement. I make gruel – not speeches; I write letters home for wounded soldiers, not political addresses.” – Clara Barton

24. “When you were weak and I was strong, I toiled for you. Now you are strong and I am weak. Because of my work for you, I ask your aid. I ask the ballot for myself and my sex. As I stood by you, I pray you stand by me and mine.” – Clara Barton

25. “We have captured one fort – Gregg – and one charnel house – Wagner – and we have built one cemetery, Morris Island. The thousand little sand-hills that in the pale moonlight are a thousand headstones, and the restless ocean waves that roll and breakup on the whitened beach sing an eternal requiem to the toll-worn gallant dead who sleep beside.” – Clara Barton

26. “Economy, prudence, and a simple life are the sure masters of need, and will often accomplish that which, their opposites, with a fortune at hand, will fail to do.” – Clara Barton

27. “I went to the Senate, accomplished nothing as usual.” – Clara Barton

28. “An institution or reform movement that is not selfish, must originate in the recognition of some evil that is adding to the sum of human suffering, or diminishing the sum of happiness.” – Clara Barton

29. “Everybody’s business is nobody’s business, and nobody’s business is my business.” – Clara Barton

30. “Others are writing my biography, and let it rest as they elect to make it. I have lived my life, well and ill, always less well than I wanted it to be but it is, as it is, and as it has been; so small a thing, to have had so much about it!” – Clara Barton

Quotes About Clara Barton

31. “Barton risked her life to bring supplies and support to soldiers in the field during the Civil War. She founded the American Red Cross in 1881, at age 59, and led it for the next 23 years. Her understanding of the ways she could provide help to people in distress guided her throughout her life.” – redcross.org

32. “In 1862, she received official permission to transport supplies to battlefields and was at every major battle in Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina, where she also tended to the wounded and became known as the “angel of the battlefield.” She was officially named head nurse for one of General Benjamin Butler’s units in 1864, even though she had no formal medical training.” – womenshistory.org

33. “After the war ended in 1865, Barton worked for the War Department, helping to either reunite missing soldiers and their families or find out more about those who were missing. She also became a lecturer and crowds of people came to hear her talk about her war experiences.” – biography.com

34. “Clara Barton is one of the most-recognized heroes of the American Civil War.” – history.com

35. “So it may well be said that the success of the American Red Cross is largely due to the hands-on battlefield experience of Clara Barton during the Civil War. She is truly the Angel of the Battlefield and a great American hero.” – nps.gov

What did you learn from these Clara Barton quotes?

When Clara Barton began serving in the Civil War, she was almost 40 years old. When she founded the American Red Cross, she was 59 years old and served in the role for over 20 years.

Not only is she an amazing example of what one woman can accomplish, she’s also a great example of not allowing your age to stop you. It’s easy to think that we missed our chance to accomplish something big, but as you can see from Clara’s example, that’s not true.

Look for the simple and tangible needs around you that you can meet for other people. You just never know where that might lead you.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Clara Barton quotes and sayings? Do you have any other favorite quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.

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