Clara Barton Red Bud

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Clara Barton Eastern Redbud

Parent tree location: Glen Echo, Maryland

Distance from MOSI to parent tree: 813 miles


Clara Barton worked at the Patent Office in Washington DC, but found time to organize relief efforts for soldiers returning after the Baltimore Riots. During the Civil War, Barton worked to collect and distribute medical supplies desperately needed for the tending of wounded soldiers and organized a program for locating men listed as missing in action. Through interviews with Federals returning from Southern prisons, she was able to determine the status of some of the missing and notify families and loved ones. Clara Barton established the American Red Cross in 1881, and remained head of the organization until her retirement in 1904. The Clara Barton Redbud can be found at her home in Glen Echo, Maryland. 


Did You Know?

In 1887, Clara Barton travelled to Florida to help combat the Yellow Fever epidemic that raged in the state. In the spring of 1898, Clara barton and her staff sailed from the port of Tampa to bring supplies to war ravaged Cuba during the Spanish American War.

Tampa Bay History Magazine: Tampa’s Yellow fever Epidemic of 1887

Florida Memory: Spanish American War


Learn more about Clara Barton and the American Red Cross

American Red Cross: Clara Barton

Clara Barton Birthplace Museum, North Oxford, MA

National Park Service: Clara Barton National Historic Site, Glen Echo, MD


Medicinal Herb Garden

As founder of the Red Cross, Clara Barton was an expert in herbal remedies of the late 19th century. When she came to Florida in 1887 to fight the raging yellow fever epidemic, she almost certainly brought yarrow to help reduce fevers. Other medicinal plants would have been part of the supplies she brought with her in 1898 when she came to Tampa to join soldiers headed to Cuba for the Spanish American War.


Plants you may find in this garden vary by season and may include: Yarrow (Achillea) - Fever Reducer, Foxglove (Digitalis) - Heart Failure, Wormwood (Artemesia) - Digestive Aid, Parsley (Petroselinum hortense) - Kidney Stones, and Basil (Ocimum basilicum) - Anti-inflammatory.  Click here for more information on plants currently found in the Settler’s Garden.

Artists Statement

I was inspired to take the Clara Barton Eastern Red Bud Tree as my project by pleasant memories. As a child and then as a young woman I had the opportunity to spend many happy hours in the amusement park at Glen Echo Park very near Clara Barton’s home in Glen Echo and my Grandparent’s home in Bethesda, Maryland. My grandmother was a nurse and Red Cross volunteer in Washington D.C. and Suburban Maryland. Neither of these would have been nearly as possible for her without Clara Barton’s stellar example to guide her.


The piece itself pays tribute to various stages of Miss Barton’s career and life. The sign that directed people to her office, the symbol of the International Red Cross, various Red Cross headquarters, her home and writings. The center piece was inspired by Miss Bartons’s own Blue Willow china which is a pattern that has been popular for over two hundred years. The border is true to the china pattern; however the buildings from left to right are the District of Columbia Red Cross Emergency Ambulance Station, a building that was a Red Cross Warehouse in Glen Echo on the site of Miss Barton’s home. The stones from that building were used to make the towers on either side of the façade of the Glen Echo house which is the building on the right.


The Red Cross symbol on each of these buildings is depicted in red. The two on the third floor of the home are stained glass windows that can still be seen today, if one tours Miss Barton’s home which is a national historic site run by the National Parks Department. The Blue Willow stylized tree in the center is meant to depict the Eastern Red Bud. The portion of one of Miss Barton’s letters is written in Spencerian Ladies’ Hand which is a style of handwriting that was popular in the latter portion of the 1800’s


This piece was done with pen and ink on Bristol vellum paper. The black ink was made by my friend and fiber artist Jennifer Ratcliffe of Clearwater. The blue and red inks are commercially available and made by Windsor & Newton.


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