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.
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