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Archive for the month “May, 2013”


May 21, 2013


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Clara Barton* founded the American National Red Cross 132 years ago today, May 21, 1881 here in the Nation’s Capital.

The first meeting of the organization took place at Miss Barton’s apartment located on I Street and the first chapter was established in Danville, New York on August 22, 1882.

According to the ARC website, Clara Barton first learned about “the Swiss-inspired global Red Cross network while visiting Europe” following the Civil War.


Clara Barton, who had served as a nurse during that war, earned the nickname “Angel of the Battlefield.”


                          Clara Barton

        Saint Petersburg, Russia (1902)

    Clara Barton National Historic Site 

*Clarissa Harlowe Barton (1821-1912) was born in North Oxford, Massachusetts.  She began teaching in 1838 and studied at the Clinton Liberal Institute in New York.

Miss Barton opened a free school in New Jersey and later became a clerk in the US Patent Office in Washington, D.C.

Serving on the front lines as a nurse in the Civil War, she was put in charge of hospitals of the Union Army of the James.

Clara Barton died at the age of 90 in Glen Echo, Maryland.

The American Red Cross** joined the International Red Cross in providing humanitarian aid to victims of wars and natural disasters.

**The ARC’s 1st relief effort was in the aftermath of the Great Fire of 1881 in Michigan.  In 1889, the ARC again provided assistance in the Johnston Flood of Pennsylvania.

The ARC is headquartered at 430 17th Street in Washington, D.C. The HQ building became a National Landmark in 1965.

The current ARC president and CEO is Gail J. McGovern.  In 2010, the ARC budget was $3.5 billion.


                American Red Cross HQs

               Washington, D.C. (2008)

                            Photo by


                     at en.wikipedia

In addition to her service in the Civil War, she was assigned by President Abraham Lincoln the difficult task of identifying  Union dead at ANDERSONVILLE PRISON CAMP in Georgia.

Clara Barton, who became the 1st President of the American National Red Cross, resigned from the organization in 1904.


JFK’s sister, Kathleen ‘Kick’ Kennedy, began volunteering for the Red Cross in 1940.  

According to the JFK Library, she planned benefit luncheons and fashion shows for the Allied Relief Fund to aid British seamen disabled by the war.  

She later volunteered to serve the Red Cross in London.

                   Kathleen ‘Kick’ Kennedy

             American Red Cross Volunteer

                           London (1943)

                      JFK Library Photo




Our thoughts and prayers go out today to the people of Oklahoma City who were hit by a devastating tornado yesterday.  We also acknowledge appreciation to the first responders, and to the work of all relief agencies including the American Red Cross who are involved providing assistance in this disaster.

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