American Red Cross & World War I History in Numbers

By PaKou Lee, Social Media Intern

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A Red Cross nurse outfit is displayed along with a Foreign Service certificate and homeopathic medication kit.

I had an awesome opportunity to visit the Neville Public Museum’s exhibit: A World At War: 100th Commemoration of the Start of WWI. It was pretty cool to see the history of the Red Cross’ participation during WWI.

Check out the history facts of the Red Cross and its involvement in the war:

133rd Anniversary- This year, May 21st will mark the 133rd year of the American Red Cross, established by Clara Barton and a few of her acquaintances. After Barton’s visit to Europe and experience with the Swiss-inspired global Red Cross network, it inspired her to start an American Red Cross.

Increased local chapters & memberships- In 1914, the Red Cross had a total of 107 local chapters. Within 4 years, it increased tremendously to 3,864 local chapters because of the epidemic of the wars. Memberships also had a huge increase from 17,000 to more than 20 million adults and 11 million Junior Red Cross members.

22,800 nurses & ambulance drivers registered for WWI- The Red Cross was able to bring in 18,000 nurses and 4,800 ambulance drivers to help serve the military.

Death toll- 296 nurses and 127 ambulance drivers died while in service.

Millions of dollars donated: The Red Cross received $400 million dollars from the public for support.

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Homeopathic medication kit.

To see the changes from 133 years ago to now is incredible. The posters, outfits, services and more. But one thing remains the same – the Red Cross compassionate care, focusing in five categories:

  • People affected by disasters in America
  • Support for members of the military and their families
  • Blood collection, processing and distribution
  • Health and safety education and training
  • International relief and development

Plan a visit to see the exhibit soon – it ends June 1st, 2014. Click here for more information about the Neville Public Museum.

DID YOU KNOW????

American author Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961) in 1918, dressed in the uniform of an ambulance driver for the International Red Cross during World War I, where he was stationed on the Italian front. On July 8 he was seriously wounded by mortar fire. Despite his wounds, Hemingway carried an Italian soldier to safety, for which he received the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery. He sustained shrapnel wounds to both legs, underwent an operation at a distribution center, spent five days at a field hospital, and was transferred to the Red Cross hospital in Milan for a six-month period of recuperation.

Photo: Ermeni Studios; Restoration: Beao