Clara Barton Apartment and Office of Missing Soldiers
In November 1997, the U.S. General Services Administration discovered signs, clothing and papers in the attic of 437 Seventh Street in northwest Washington, District of Columbia. The vacant building had recently been transferred from the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation for sale by GSA and was slated for demolition. The artifacts were identified as the belongings of Clara Barton from her occupancy of the building during the Civil War, while she was providing supplies to soldiers on the battlefields, and immediately following the Civil War, when she operated the Missing Soldiers Office out of Room 9 on the third floor. Between 1865 and 1868, Barton's office handled more than 63,000 letters, providing information to the families of more than 21,000 men.
As a result of the discovery, the building was preserved and GSA retains an easement for planned museum use.
On July 12, 2010, the Public Broadcasting Service's (PBS) program, History Detectives aired an episode exploring the origins of an 1866 letter from Clara Barton's Office of Missing Soldiers. For additional broadcast times and video ordering information, go to the PBS website.