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Exhibition Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote

Clara Barton (1821–1912). War Lecture, ca. 1866. Clara Barton Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (023.01.00)
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“Clara Barton, Angel of the Battlefield,” Wonder Woman, no. 2, Fall issue 1942. Reproduction. Serial and Government Publications Division, Library of Congress (023.02.00)
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“Clara Barton, Angel of the Battlefield,” Wonder Woman, no. 2, Fall issue 1942. Reproduction. Serial and Government Publications Division, Library of Congress (23.03.00)
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Civil War and Clara Barton

Out of patriotism, women’s rights leaders suspended their campaign during the Civil War, but few sat idle. Clara Barton, then a clerk at the U.S. Patent Office, began by gathering provisions and medical supplies for the Union army. Restless with this limited role but initially hesitant to challenge War Department regulations, Barton describes how “she broke the shackles and went to the field” at the Battle of Cedar Mountain. Barton’s challenge to prevailing female stereotypes later led Alice Marble (1913–1990), professional tennis player, spy, and associate editor of DC Comics Wonder Woman, to profile Barton in her 1940s series “Wonder Women of History.”

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