Louise Marth Jark
Suggested Teaching Instructions
The American Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton who first came to widespread public attention as an amateur nurse who provided aid to soldiers during the Civil War. She traveled to Europe where she learned about the International Red Cross and served as a Red Cross volunteer in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). Barton formed the American Red Cross in 1881.
From the start, nursing played an important role in American Red Cross history. Soon after the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the Red Cross sent medical supplies, doctors and 125 nurses to Europe to provide aid to military and civilian victims on both sides of the conflict.
During the 20 months of U.S. participation in World War I, the Red Cross recruited over 29,000 nurses to serve with the U.S. military at home and overseas. The Red Cross nurses supplied aid to the U.S. armed forces and to the military and civilians of its allies. Nurses served at emergency stations near the front, field hospitals behind the lines, and at base hospitals away from the battle lines and in the United States.
The Red Cross introduced the Volunteer Nurses’ Aide Service in 1918 to help overworked nurses at home take care of returning veterans who needed medical attention. They also established a Hospital and Recreation Corps in 1918 to provide recreational services to veterans.