Queen Barton

Early biographies of the great, independent women of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were most often written by admirers so ardent that their pages of unrelenting praise now defy reading. “Sensitive by nature, refined by culture,” wrote the anonymous author of one biographical sketch of Clara Barton in 1876, “she has nevertheless taken unaccustomed fields of labor, walked untrodden paths with bleeding feet and opened pioneer doors with bruised fingers, not for her own aggrandisement but for that of her sex and humanity.” Read more »

The Civil War: Cutting And Sawing


THE PHOTOGRAPH IS posed but the scene is truthful enough: a soldier lies on the operating table, the surgeon has his knife ready, and an anesthetic is being delivered. Ether had been in use since 1846, chloroform since 1847, and both, mercifully, were in adequate supply. Amputation was the common consequence of wounds in the arms or legs, since nothing was known of antisepsis and infection was almost inevitable. At Gettysburg some surgeons did nothing for a week but cut off limbs.

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