1 minute readHistory

From the Archives…Women in the Red Cross

Since Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1881, women have played an important part in advancing the organization’s programs and services. As we close out Women’s History month, our last installment features images of women in Red Cross paintings. The Red Cross collection contains paintings by well-known illustrators dating from the early to mid-twentieth century. The paintings, many of them featuring women, were turned into posters promoting Red Cross fundraising, preparedness training and membership drives.

Howard Chandler Christy, c. 1919

Take A Red Cross Home Nursing Course--Learn To Guard the Home Front<br /><br /><br />
Frederick Sands Brunner, c. World War II<br /><br /><br />
During World War II, the Red Cross Home Nursing course provided basic skills to care for the sick.

Frederick Sands Brunner, c. World War II


 Hayden Hayden, c. 1937








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  1. I found a WWI diary of a Lakeside Unit Red Cross Nurse in my late wife’s papers and wanted to contact an archivist regarding transcribing/annotating/IDing the diarist.

    Any suggestions appreciated

  2. I found a glass plate negative and a positive print of my mother, 2nd Lt Lida A Brown USARC, together with her Red Cross pin (from her hat) and her USARC officer’s jacket flash.
    I also found her European Theater of Operations service ribbon, and what appears to be a Good Conduct Ribbon for the rest of the fruit salad to be worn on the officer’s jacket.
    I also remember seeing her wearing her complete uniform less the ribbons, which I infer must have been conferred later. I have yet to locate this photo. (It may still be in her parent’s’ house in El Dorado, Kansas, where she was born.)
    My girlfriend de jour destroyed her footlocker, marked “2nd Lt Lida Allene Brown, 420 Ash Street, El Dorado, Kansas” but I found her duffle bag last week.
    Here’s the fun part: my mother studied fashion design before she went off to war.
    I was shocked!, shocked!, shocked! to see a Red Cross uniform with slacks that might be contemporary with the one my mother designed for the ETO using some of the RAF woolen cloth that had suddenly become available in 1944.
    Are you interested in this uniform? My mother left the prototype uniform (and a photo of her modeling it) to the costume collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in her will, if memory serves (she died in 1979). I had remembered that she thought she had designed the first US women’s uniform featuring “slacks.”
    Frankly, she was a bit fashion forward, but not too totally fashion forward to have definitely been the first. (She did get her first job at a very prestigious Manhattan store because her entry into a plastic manufacturer’s swimsuit competition won a prize—but we were never sure whether it was for the plastic trim she had added to the design or for whether it was for the fact that that it was a two-piece bathing suit in the middle of the Thirties, when many bathing costumes for women still featured skirts.)
    Please get in touch with me if you suspect any photos I might uncover may be of any historical value. (When we talked about the photographer, I heard a French name pronounced: Brass Eye, fall from her lips, but I tried to look this man up and the trail turned weird on me and I gave up.
    Evidently, he made his living by way of either Hearst of Condé Nast fashion publications, but what I could find on him fell far outside the standards of the fashion photograpy of the day. I should rather devote my free time to finding the negative, or the 10″x12″ print of a woman in a slack suit topped by a short toggle coat swinging her legs out from the right front seat of a Jeep.
    The rest of the story disappears like tears in rain. If I come across any more information that may remain of historical interest, I should like to know whom to tell…
    Ludwig Vogel