Red Cross File, 1863-1957

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  • 54% Needs Review
  • 10% In Progress
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After her experiences in the American Civil War and in the Franco-Prussian War, Clara Barton advocated for the founding of the American Red Cross and promoted the passage of the Geneva Convention in the United States Congress. Barton succeeded in founding the American Red Cross in 1881. She exerted control over the operations of the organization until her retirement in June 1904, when she was forced to resign. During her long struggle to build the Red Cross into a viable relief organization, Barton accumulated many files related to her work. Her “Red Cross File” forms the largest section of the Clara Barton Papers and has two distinct groupings: the International Committee of the Red Cross and the American National Red Cross.

The International Committee of the Red Cross grouping within Clara Barton’s Red Cross File has materials related to international conferences in Europe which Clara Barton attended as a delegate, including correspondence, reports, drafts, notes, printed matter, and miscellaneous items.

The American National Red Cross section of Clara Barton’s Red Cross File contains material indicating that the American Red Cross was not only founded by Barton, but was also sustained by her for many years. Barton’s records of the American National Red Cross relate to the organization's foundation and administration, including the founding documents of the organization, actions taken to protect the Red Cross insignia, the development and scandal of Red Cross Park, and the final congressional investigation into Barton's stewardship of the organization, which led to her resignation. Most of the documents, however, relate chiefly to the Red Cross's response to appeals for aid from the victims of natural disasters and war, both in the United States and abroad.

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