History Through Philately—Happy birthday to the American Red Cross!

History Through Philately stamp

On this date in 1881, Clara Barton (1821-1912) and Adolphus Solomons founded the American National Red Cross to provide humanitarian aid to victims of wars and national disasters.

I learned about Clara Barton and the Red Cross several decades ago when I was in the Boy Scouts and trying to earn two Merit Badges (First Aid and Stamp Collecting). Until today, I had not known about Adolphus Solomons. He doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry, so I still know next to nothing about him.

Barton was born in 1821 in Massachusetts, putting her in her 40s when she was working with the sick and wounded during the Civil War. Her tireless dedication earned her the nickname Angel of the Battlefield.

After the Civil War ended, President Lincoln commissioned her to search for lost prisoners of war. Using the extensive records she had compiled during the war, she succeeded in identifying thousands of the Union dead at the Andersonville prisoner-of-war camp where 13,000 people had died.

In 1870, while she was in Europe, she worked behind the German lines for the International Red Cross when the Franco-Prussian War broke out. In 1877, she organized an American branch of the International Red Cross.

The American Red Cross received its first U.S. federal charter in 1900, and Barton headed the organization into her 80s, dying in 1912 at the age of 90.

Following are Red Cross stamps issued by the United States, including the Scott Catalog number and the issue date.

Scott #702, “The Greatest Mother,” issued May 21, 1931Scott #702, The Greatest Mother

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #967, Clara Barton, issued September 7, 1948Scott #967 Clara Barton

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #1910, American Red Cross, issued May 1, 1981Scott #1910 American Red Cross

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #2975c, Clara Barton, issued June 29, 1995Scott #2975c Clara Barton

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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17 thoughts on “History Through Philately—Happy birthday to the American Red Cross!

  1. Anny

    I knew that Clara Barton had come to Galveston to help the city after the 1900 storm (6000+ lives lost) but now I’m amazed to learn that she must have been 79 at the time!


  2. laurie27wsmith

    More great snippets of history and stamps Russel. Thanks for camping at my place yesterday, I appreciate it. BTW, there’s a Roo looking for her joey this morning. Any ideas? 😉


      1. laurie27wsmith

        Yes, just the reply I expected from a joey napper. 😉 Actually there was a Joey without a mother on the lawn yesterday. He hung around with a juvenile male and kept quit close. I have pictures. 🙂


  3. Gallivanta

    Having just referenced the Red Cross in one of my recent posts, I am pleased to read the US side of the story. I will join Zoey the Cool Cat in approving this post.



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