Since its founding by Clara Barton on May 21, 1881, the American Red Cross has been dedicated to serving people in need. She was working in the U.S. Patent Office in Washington, DC when the Civil War began. Like many women, she helped collect bandages and other much needed supplies but soon realized that she could best support the troops by going in person to the battlefields.
After travelling to Europe to participate in the war effort abroad, Barton was determined that the United States should participate in the global Red Cross network. Working with influential friends and contacts such as Frederick Douglass, she founded the American Red Cross. Barton served as president of the organization until age 83. Her legacy to the nation - service to humanity - is reflected in the services provided daily by the employees and volunteers of the American Red Cross.
Today, as throughout their long history, the Red Cross depends on generous contributions of time, blood, and money from the American public to support their lifesaving services and programs.