The American Red Cross history began on May 21, 1881, when it was founded by Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons. Read some fun facts about the American Red Cross here, plus a brief history about the organization.
The American Red Cross history has to begin with Clara Barton's birth in 1821, since she was the founder of the American Red Cross. She was a school teacher and then a clerk in the U.S. Patent Office. She was working at the Patent Office when casualties from the Baltimore Riots were brought to Washington. She organized a relief effort for the soldiers, and began a lifelong work in helping others.
In 1863, the International Red Cross was founded in Switzerland. Barton wanted there to be an American version of the international organization, and she founded the American Red Cross in 1881. For the next 23 years Barton ran the American Red Cross organization. She resigned as the head of it in 1904.
"I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them." - Clara Barton
The first disaster relief operation that the new American Red Cross helped with was just a few days after the founding of the first local chapter in Dansville, NY was started. They helped with the relief effort after major forest fires devastated an area in Michigan.
The Red Cross was given a congressional charter on June 6th,
1900. Having this charter meant that the American Red Cross would be able to provide help to wounded soldiers during war, be a "go between" between military personnel and their families. In times of peace, they could supply relief when natural disasters hit. The charter also protected the Red Cross
logo from being used by other organizations. The Red Cross
emblem is a red cross on a white background - now known around the world.
During the Civil War, Clara Barton earned the nicknamed "Angel of the
Battlefield". With no prior nursing experience,
she worked as a nurse on battlefields... even operating
on a wounded man, removing a bullet from his face.
Do you like to play computer games? Here's one you might enjoy called Red Cross - Emergency Response Unit...
Visit the Red Cross Museum to learn more about Clara Barton and the American Red Cross history.