MS 62 Red Cross Collection

Summary Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection
American Red Cross.
Red Cross Collection
MS 62
Date [inclusive]
0.5 Linear feet (1 box)
This collection contains information on the American Red Cross and its San Diego Chapter regarding internal operations, fundraising, recruitment, and various public services.

Preferred Citation

Red Cross Collection, MS 62, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

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Biographical / Historical Notes

The American Red Cross (ARC) was founded 1881 in Washington, D.C. by Clara Barton, who visited Europe after the Civil War and learned of the International Red Cross. She headed the newly-formed ARC for the next 23 years, overseeing its domestic and international relief efforts which included the provision of nursing services to the United States military during the Spanish-American War. It was during this time, in 1898, that the San Diego Chapter of the Red Cross was formed, sending lemons and dried fruit to Cubans held in Spanish concentration camps in Cuba. They were also responsible for collecting donations, making garments, and shipping carloads of lemons to fever stricken soldiers quarantined at Montauk Point, New York. The San Diego Chapter was originally organized as a member of the California Red Cross State Association, but with the reorganization of the American National Red Cross under a congressional charter in 1906, the branch became a chapter of the Pacific Area office of ARC with headquarters in San Francisco.

Between 1900 and 1906, the American Red Cross was active, but the San Diego Chapter was not. The San Francisco earthquake of April 1906, however, spurned life back into the Chapter and an earthquake relief committee was established, sending money and boxes of clothing as well as other supplies to earthquake victims. The Chapter also helped the numerous victims who took refuge in San Diego, helping them find permanent housing and employment. Subsequent projects were similar, such as assisting victims of natural disasters in the U.S., Italy, Mexico, China, and France. When there were no disasters to attend to, the Chapter’s members joined in the national branch’s efforts in selling Christmas seals for tuberculosis prevention, as well as teaching courses in hygiene, first aid and disease treatment and prevention. Service by the San Diego Red Cross peaked in 1917 with the start of U.S. involvement in WWI and the influx of military activity in San Diego.

The Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) also played a large part in the Chapter’s early history, as volunteers provided medical services to soldiers and refugees. Over 1,000 Americans who had been living in Mexico fled back across the border and were aided by the Red Cross in establishing new lives.

During WWII, the Chapter operated its War Fund, aggressively soliciting funds to assist soldiers, military families, and the war effort in general. At this time, its headquarters were located in Balboa Park, where female volunteers gathered to knit garments for servicemen and war refugees. The American Junior Red Cross also had a large membership during this period. Members assisted in hospitals and wrote letters to children in other countries. Local leaders stressed the importance of American Junior Red Cross work in general school life.

The San Diego Chapter of the American Red Cross remains an active organization, continuing its role in the health and well-being of San Diegans and the global community.

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Scope and Content

The collection consists of materials pertaining to the American Red Cross and its San Diego Chapter regarding internal operations, fundraising, recruitment, and public services. Operational materials include By-Laws, annual reports and conventions, as well as newsletters and the aforementioned fundraising and volunteer recruitment. Materials specific to the American Junior Red Cross, Camp and Hospital Council, and Home and Farm Accident Prevention Program are also included. Informational guides in the collection cover topics such as disaster relief, war efforts, first-aid, healthcare, casework and garment production.

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Items in collection are arranged by subject.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection July 5, 2011

1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Jennifer Ho on July 5, 2011.

Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • American Junior Red Cross.
  • American National Red Cross.
  • American Red Cross Camp and Hospital Committee.
  • American Red Cross.

Geographic Name(s)

  • San Diego (Calif.)


  • Charities
  • Community health services
  • Disaster relief
  • Emergency clothing supply
  • Emergency food supply
  • Fund raising
  • Social service
  • Volunteer workers in social service
  • War relief
  • World War, 1939-1945

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Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Some booklets have loose bindings. (June 29, 2011)

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Collection Inventory

General administration, 1931-1973


Charter and By-Laws booklet, 1931.

Questions and Answers booklet, 1947.

Constitution of the Red Cross Society of San Diego (includes membership list and newspaper clippings attached)

Annual reports, 1940-1957


Report of the Chairman, 1940.

Financial Summary, 1946-1957.

Newsletters, 1935-1946 1:3
Annual conventions, 1937-1966 and undated 1:4
Fundraising, 1932–1946 and undated


Brochures; correspondence

“Facts on Red Cross activities” booklet

War Fund bulletin

Volunteering, 1935–1942 and undated


Manuals; name badge; recruitment flyer

American Junior Red Cross, 1931–1943 and undated


Informational and instructional booklets.

Crochet instructions for members.

Camp and Hospital Council, 1942–1944 and undated


Account book and materials donation list.

Home and Farm Accident Prevention Program, 1935



Inspection document with certificate

Natural disaster relief, 1936–1947


Booklet and service reports.

War and military efforts, 1936 and undated


Informational booklets

“Rules for Wearing WWII Pins” document

First aid and health care, 1917-1945 and undated



Blood Donor Statement of Facts

Social services casework, 1934-1938


Instructional booklets

Garment production and donation manual, 1939 1:14

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