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The American Red Cross from Clara Barton to the New Deal

In dark skirts and bloodied boots, Clara Barton fearlessly ventured on to Civil War battlefields to tend to wounded soldiers. She later worked with civilians in Europe during the Franco-Prussian War, lobbied legislators to ratify the Geneva conventions, and founded and ran the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross from Clara Barton to the New Deal tells the story of the charitable organization from its start in 1881, through its humanitarian aid during wars, natural disasters, and the Depression, to its relief efforts of the 1930s.

Marian Moser Jones illustrates the tension between the organization’s founding principles of humanity and neutrality and the political, economic, and moral pressures that sometimes caused it to favor one group at the expense of another.

This expansive book narrates the stories of:

• U.S. natural disasters such as the Jacksonville yellow fever epidemic of 1888, the Sea Islands hurricane of 1893, and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake• crises abroad, including the 1892 Russian famine and the Armenian massacres of 1895–96• efforts to help civilians affected by the civil war in Cuba• power struggles within the American Red Cross leadership and subsequent alliances with the American government• the organization's expansion during World War I• race riots in East St. Louis, Chicago, and Tulsa between 1917 and 1921• help for African American and white Southerners after the Mississippi flood of 1927• relief projects during the Dust Bowl and after the New Deal

An epilogue relates the history of the American Red Cross since the beginning of World War II and illuminates the organization's current practices as well as its international reputation.

About the Author

Marian Moser Jones is an assistant professor of family science at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. She is a former DeWitt Stetten Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, Office of History.

Reviews

Traces the organization's history from its founding in 1881 to the 1930s.

- The Chronicle Review

A cogent review of the complicated evolution of the American Red Cross... Jones skillfully dissects the origins, principles, and practices shaping the contemporary ARC... The book is especially strong in explaining how national and international situations enhanced the ARC's possibilities and constrained its potential.

- Rima D. Apple, Ph.D. - Journal of the History of Medicine

Jones has, therefore, written a significant book that should challenge historians to consider anew the intertwined development of national disaster responses and social welfare policies, and to better understand the inherent complexity of humanitarian aid

- Branden Little - H-SHGAPE, H-Net Reviews

Endorsements

The most current, comprehensive institutional history—a rich account of experiences on the ground that shows how American Red Cross structure and policies played out unevenly in situations where racism, paternalism, and anti-dependency arguments framed the provision of disaster relief.

- Manon S. Parry, University of Amsterdam

Jones’s book is a valuable narrative and reference for scholars of humanitarianism, disaster, and volunteerism.

- Jacob A. C. Remes - Journal of American History

A cogent review of the complicated evolution of the American Red Cross... Jones skillfully dissects the origins, principles, and practices shaping the contemporary ARC.

- Rima D. Apple - Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences

While specialists will welcome The American Red Cross as a well-researched and analytical treatment of the principal U.S. humanitarian organization, the book should also appeal to popular audiences. Jones tells a fascinating and approachable story.

- Julia F. Irwin - Bulletin of the History of Medicine

This book provides a carefully researched examination of the particular path taken by the American Red Cross up to the Second World War. This is less a history of American exceptionalism than an illustration of the diversity of projects that operated under the banner of the Red Cross in this period.

- Rebecca Gill - Social History of Medicine

Well-researched and accessible in its writing, Jones's history of the ARC offers the reader – both inside and outside academia – a thorough and up-to-date examination of one of the most important voluntary associations in the history of the United States.

- Brendan M. Goff - Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Johns Hopkins University Press
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