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Red Cross, 1918

History: American Red Cross founded in 1881

Red Cross, ca. 1942

History: American Red Cross founded in 1881

On this day in 1881, humanitarians Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons found the American National Red Cross in Washington, DC. an organization established to provide humanitarian aid to victims of wars and natural disasters in congruence with the International Red Cross. Barton had been known as the “Angel of the Battlefield” for her tireless dedication to helping the sick and wounded during the American Civil War. She was in Europe when the Franco-Prussian War broke out in 1870 where she joined the International Red Cross to work behind the German lines. After her return to the United States, she organized an American branch of the International Red Cross. The American Red Cross received its first U.S. federal charter in 1900. Barton headed the organization into her 80s and died in 1912.

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