New Exhibit Opens Today at the Sousa Archives

“That Red Cross Girl of Mine” from the James Edward Myers Sheet Music Collection

The Sousa Archives’ new exhibit, The Red Cross: A Soldier’s Best Friend, opened today, and features a sample of sheet music cover art from the James Edward Myers Sheet Music Collection.  This graphic imagery illustrates America’s colorful portrayals of the Red Cross volunteer during World War I.  Clara Barton, who earned recognition as the “Angel of the Battlefield” for her humanitarian service during America’s Civil War, founded the American Red Cross in May 1881 as an associate relief organization of the International Committee of the Red Cross Organization.  However, unlike its international associate, the American Red Cross devoted most of its early service efforts to provide relief for those individuals from the United States affected by natural disasters, such as the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, and the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.  During America’s involvement in WWI, both the International and American Red Cross played a major role in arranging transportation of volunteers to the Western Front to aid soldiers injured during battle; and in 1917, the Red Cross received the only Nobel Peace Prize awarded between 1914 and 1918.  The American public lauded these volunteers for their devotion to the troops, and many of America’s popular songs were written to honor the men and women of the Red Cross.

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