Clara Barton's Trunk Bed

12/11/2021 9:37 PM | Anonymous

Clara Barton’s inspiration for starting the American Red Cross was cultivated while caring for the sick and wounded on Civil War battlefields. As a unique artifact from her time, her trunk bed is a great reminder to appreciate stories told through any medium – whether it’s on paper, through a photograph or even a foldaway bed.

WHY THIS BED? Barton was determined to carry out the work she saw as necessary to help get supplies and medical care to the Civil War battlefields – so determined that she convinced the government and the Army to give her passes to go behind military lines.

According to Red Cross records, Barton’s situation led to a firm in Philadelphia for a trunk bed so it could be used on the battlefield as she tends to wounded soldiers.

CONSTRUCTION AND HISTORY Also called a camp bed, the piece is constructed to fold into a traveling trunk, complete with a wooden frame and tooled leather. To use the bed, Barton would have opened up the trunk into three sections – hinged on the short sides of the trunk as it opens – to reveal heavy canvas attached to the frame with nails

Read more and view photos on the Red Cross Blog

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