Congress in the Archives will feature monthly staff posts on our blog. Today’s post comes from Center archivist Kristen Wilhelm.
On May 31, 1889, one of the most famous floods in American history ravaged Johnstown, Pennsylvania, leaving 2,209 people dead. Clara Barton, president of the American Red Cross, arrived five days later and stayed until October distributing supplies and proving the relief organization had a peacetime role.
When the Senate introduced a bill granting Barton an annuity for her lifelong work during wars and catastrophes around the world, the citizens of Johnstown rallied to her side. Thirteen years after the flood, 480 signatories from Johnstown petitioned the Senate to pass the bill honoring the woman who did so much to help their crippled town survive disaster. Although Barton never received the annuity, she won the affection and appreciation of many people, the citizens of Johnstown included.
One of several petitions from the citizens of Johnstown, PA supporting the bill authorizing an annuity for Clara Barton, Sen 57A-J47, 6/2/1902, Records of the U.S. Senate.
American Red Cross in Great Britain. One unit of the famous “Flying Squadron” priding themselves on being able to get under way within three minutes of the time a call is received. American Red Cross., ca. 1918
Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross on May 21, 1881, after her experience with the International Red Cross in Europe, focused on providing disaster relief and support for military veterans, still core parts of their mission today.
Garrison Style Caps
These four garrison style caps were donated to the National Archives by the American National Red Cross (ANRC). The documentation indicates that they are vintage WWI hats worn by Red Cross staff. They are all similar in that they are wool and have ear flaps, but only one has a ribbon around the crown and an embroidered red cross.
One of the garrison hats has a leather sweatband and a label from John Baillie & Co. Paris, 1 Rue Auber. Many Red Cross staff waited until they got to Paris to have their uniforms custom made by Parisian designers. Research on shops and designers of the period is often very difficult. Can you suggest any good sites or books for early twentieth-century costume history?
ARC ID: 6293339
Check out the latest from our ongoing Red Cross Uniform Preservation Project! Here is how staff prepares hats for long term storage.
First a sheet of lining tissue is placed inside the hat. This is followed by a soft cotton stuffer that is coiled and inserted to provide gentle yet firm support. The filler and lining tissue are left slightly higher than the hat brim, so when the hat is flipped over the tissue will support the hat. This technique eliminates stress on the hat’s brim while the hat is stored horizontally. Each hat is then measured for a custom box which is made on-site by our boxing team. The hats are gently lifted with a tissue paper sling during measuring.
ARC ID: 6882883
More artifacts from Preservation’s Red Cross Preservation Project for American Red Cross Month.
Interested in preservation? If you’re in DC, today is their free Preservation EXPO!
This doll is from the Red Cross records and came into the conservation lab to receive custom housing. Here it is in its new box. The label explains that the doll was handmade by a soldier wounded in the Crimean War. The doll was presented to Queen Victoria and was later won in a raffle by an American Red Cross nurse in 1918.
More installments from the Red Cross Uniform Preservation Project for American Red Cross Month (and #haturday):
Retired Archivist Pat Anderson (left) returns one day a week to help with the Red Cross project. Anderson and Senior Conservator Kathy Ludwig are discussing procedures to care for this WWI black summer wicker Foreign Service Hat.
ARC ID: 6882883
March is American Red Cross month, so it seemed a fitting time to reblog this great series of posts from our Preservation colleagues on their Red Cross Uniform Preservation Project:
When the Red Cross artifacts first come into the lab, they are carefully removed from their archival boxes.
This WWI Canteen Worker hat, 1914-1918, is made of blue wool with red hand sewn trim. The hat is shown before Pat pads the inside with cotton stuffers and non-buffered abaca fiber tissue.
ARC ID: 6882883
Guess what the Oscar winning historic figures pictured have in common with the Red Cross collection at the National Archives? Keep reading for the answers.
Seen in the photos are Captian Jack Sparrow from the 2003 film Pirates of the Caribbean, the gendarme from Scorsese’s 2011 film Hugo Cabret, and three characters from movies made in 2012: Les Miserables, Anna Karinina, and Spielberg’s Lincoln. The next photo shows a straw hat which belonged to “Dottie” a member of the American National Red Cross. What do the hats all have in common? Most curious, don’t you think?
During preparation procedures for housing and conserving the Red Cross hats, one of the first items we examine is information in the label. The label in this ladies hand-made straw hat with a silk ribbon and bow identifies it as being made by Ditta Pieroni Bruno s.n.c. in Rome and includes an address and telephone number.
Research revealed that the Ditta Peroni Bruno company was founded around the time of WWII and originally made hats for the Italian military. After the war they moved into the costume business for stage and screen and are still making beautiful hand made period costumes, including hats, armour, breastplates and gloves. The hats and gloves in Hugo’s, Jack Sparrow’s pirate hat, Lincoln’s top hat, and Dottie’s straw hat were all hand made by the same Italian company, Ditta Pieroni Bruno.
This is only the beginning of our research because previously we had mis-identified this hat as part of Dottie’s WWI clothing, but Ditta Pieroni Bruno wasn’t founded until 1939. Jana Dambrogio and I sent an email with photos to the company and asked if they had clues about its history. Thanks to information provided by Bruno’s son Massimo and Massimo’s wife Stefania Pieroni, we learned that NARA’s Pieroni hat is a replica of an original hat from 1900 made by Bruno Pieroni himself. The Pieroni’s provided this link to the news broadcast featuring an interview on their most recent creations found in many of this year’s Oscar nominated movies. http://mediacenter.dw.de/english/search/hatmaker/
The Pieroni coverage begins at minute 12:00 to 16:50.
Ditta Pieroni Bruno at one time made hats and military uniforms. Since the 1930s the studio changed their name and specialty to movie costumes. Check out their website at: http://www.laboratoriopieroni.it/ to learn about all the movies where one can see their work made for Fellini films to Dick Tracy in the 1990s.
From Perioni’s website it does not appear that they ever had a storefront for Dottie to go shopping. We are left to wonder did Dottie get it second hand and put her name in it? Was she an Italian film star that wore the hat and later moved to the United States and joined the Red Cross? What we do know about the hat is that it is strikingly stylish, made of very finely braided straw and is still in beautiful condition.
- Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), Disney Website: http://disney.go.com/pirates/?int_cmp=pir_fran_ChP_redirect_Intl#/gallery/
- Hugo: Recent Movie Posters: http://www.recentmovieposters.com/2011/11/five-french-character-posters-for.html
- Les Miserables: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2012/12/les-miserables-movie-review/60013/
- Kiera Knightley, Vanity Fair: http://www.vanityfair.com/online/oscars/2013/01/anna-karenina-costume-designer-oscar-nominations-keira-knightley_slideshow_item1_2#/slide=2
- Lincoln, The New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/movies/2012/11/spielberg-lincoln-review.html
Happy Holidays! Haven’t found a costume for that costume ball yet? Perhaps our Red Cross Nurses Uniform Hats from WWI may inspire you in time to craft a dazzling look for a party tonight.
This inaugural post begins our Red Cross Uniform Preservation Project posts that will show the preservation of Red Cross nurses hats.
This pilot rehousing effort is part of a larger project provides support and custom boxes for Red Cross Nurses.
Hats… and Bags… and Shoes, Oh my!
Hemingway in Italy, 1918
On August 22, 1864, The International Red Cross was founded as part of the Geneva Convention. We found this photo of Ernest Hemingway in an American Red Cross Ambulance during World War I in Italy. Circa 1918.
The American Red Cross was established in 1881.
National Doughnut Day started in 1938 when it was created by the Salvation Army to honor the women who served doughnuts to the soldiers during World War I. Doughnuts were back on the front lines in World War II.
Elizabeth A. Richardson, the woman on the left in this photograph, is standing in front of her Clubmobile, a single-decker bus fitted with coffee and doughnut-making equipment that drove around the England, bringing cheer to the soldiers stationed there. “I consider myself fortunate to be in Clubmobile—can’t conceive of anything else,” she wrote to her parents in World War II.
But like many of the young men she served doughnuts to, Elizabeth did not return home. She was killed in plane crash in July 25, 1945, and is buried in the American Cemetery in Normandy. You can read more about her story in this Prologue magazine article: http://go.usa.gov/d4k
[Image: Liz Richardson (left) and Mary Haynsworth with smiling GIs in front of their Clubmobile in Normandy. Liz sent the snapshot to her parents on June 4, 1945, noting that the “blur” in her left hand “is a doughnut. And it’s just as well that it wasn’t photogenic.” (Courtesy of James H. Madison)]
Henry Dunant administering aid on the battlefield in Solferino, Italy (by Charles Édouard Armand-Dumaresq), from ARC ID 6060466
Today is Henry Dunant’s birthday (born May 8, 1828), the Swiss founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross, now celebrated as World Red Cross Red Crescent Day.
In honor of that holiday, we thought we would mention some Red Cross records of historical interest that can be found at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland (Archives II) in Collection ANRC, Records of the American National Red Cross.
The series “Monographs, 1946-1986″ (National Archives Identifier 5752176)contains copies of historical monographs and background papers to the monographs created by the American Red Cross Historical Division between 1946 and 1986, covering the period 1807 to 1948 from the origins of the Red Cross movement to the post-World War II activities of the American Red Cross.
The series “History Files, 1895-1998″ (ARC Identifier 5835043) contains records relating to the history of the American Red Cross and the Red Cross movement. Historical subjects covered include the 1984 disaster in Bhopal, India; aid to Jews during World War II; aid to refugees in the Ottoman Empire in 1922; children’s relief in Serbia in 1944; and medical service to Israel in 1949.
The series “General Records, 1919-1999″ (National Archives Identifier 5730890) contains records from the League of Red Cross Societies, the predecessor to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
These are only three series of many found in Collection ANRC that researchers with a historical interest in the American Red Cross and the Red Cross movement in general should look to when conducting their research. Happy World Red Cross Red Crescent Day! Come to Archives II in College Park, Maryland to research these and other records relating to the history of the Red Cross movement.
World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day
(Why May 8? It’s founder Henry Dunant’s birthday » )
Has the Red Cross or the Red Crescent every helped you or your family in a time of need?
March is American Red Cross Month
On March 1, 2012 President Obama released the Presidential Proclamation:
"…NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America and Honorary Chairman of the American Red Cross, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2012 as American Red Cross Month. I encourage all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities, and by supporting the work of service and relief organizations."