“All the world appears selfish and treacherous,” wrote the American Red Cross founder in her diary in 1864. Her depression was eased often by springing into action.
Mathew Brady photographed Clara Barton circa 1865. Though she was staggeringly successful, the self-made philanthropist was dogged by depression. Her diaries (later discovered behind a wall in her former Glen Echo home, now a national historic site) reveal that she self-medicated through service: She used the most intense, bloody work imaginable to keep the “thin black snakes” of sadness from closing in. Mathew Brady/Associated Press/National Archives