What Is the American Red Cross History?

The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief, and education to people in need. Founded in 1881 by Clara Barton, the American Red Cross has a rich history of serving communities across the United States and around the world.

The Founding of the American Red Cross

Clara Barton was inspired to create the American Red Cross after visiting Europe during the Franco-Prussian War. While there, she saw firsthand the work of the International Red Cross and was impressed by their efforts to provide care for wounded soldiers on both sides of the conflict.

Upon returning to the United States, Barton began advocating for an American branch of the organization. She worked tirelessly to gain support for her idea and eventually succeeded in establishing the American Red Cross in 1881.

The Early Years

In its early years, the American Red Cross focused primarily on providing disaster relief and assistance during emergencies. One of its first major efforts was responding to a devastating forest fire in Michigan in 1881.

Over time, however, the organization expanded its scope to include other areas of humanitarian work. During World War I, for example, it provided medical services and supplies to soldiers both at home and abroad.

The Modern Era

Today, the American Red Cross continues to be an important humanitarian organization with a presence in communities across America. It provides disaster relief services such as shelter and food for those affected by natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes.

The organization also offers blood donation services that help save lives every day. In addition, they provide training courses on CPR, first aid, and other life-saving skills that can help individuals respond effectively during emergencies.


The history of the American Red Cross is one filled with compassion and dedication to helping others. From its founding by Clara Barton over a century ago to its continued work today, the organization has remained committed to serving those in need. Whether responding to natural disasters, providing life-saving blood donations, or teaching life-saving skills, the American Red Cross is an essential part of the fabric of American society.