American Red Cross first local chapter

In this house at 57 Elizabeth Street, Dansville, NY, Clara Barton and friends established the first local society of the American Red Cross on August 22, 1881.

"In 1869 Barton went to Europe to rest and to regain her health. However she soon found herself in the midst of the Franco-Prussian War. She began working with the International Red Cross, distributing supplies in France and Germany. She returned home in 1873 with the Iron Cross of Merit from the German emperor.

Barton saw the need for the Red Cross in the United States. Although the United States had not accepted the 1864 Treaty of Geneva, which made the Red Cross possible, barton dedicated herself to bringing the Red Cross to the United States. She made speeches, distributed brochures, and called on cabinet heads and congressmen. Her efforts werre successful, and in 1882 the Treaty of Geneva passed te U.S. Senate and was signed by President Chester A. Arthur.

Barton was the first president of the American Red Cross and directed its relief activities for the next twenty-three years"1.

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