Harford History

April 09, 2006

1917: Red Cross auxiliary in Bel Air

On April 13, 1917 - days after America's entry into World War I - 41 "patriotic women" met in the Bel Air Armory to organize the Bel Air Auxiliary of the Baltimore Chapter of the American Red Cross.

In 1864 the Geneva Conventions were ratified and the International Red Cross was formed. In 1905 a charter was granted, providing the basis for today's American Red Cross.

After World War I began in Europe, several community organizations in Harford County were formed and dedicated to civilian and military relief. These organizations were working independently, yet with a common goal. It was suggested that the American Red Cross would be the logical framework to unite the groups.

The first step was the formation of the Bel Air Auxiliary. Soon other auxiliaries were founded, including a Colored Auxiliary. By the end of 1918, the groups had been admitted into the American Red Cross Harford County Chapter.

[Harford Historical Bulletin, No. 77, Summer 1998. Research by Harford County Public Library]

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