"American Red Cross. Chartered by Congress" Vintage WWI Red Cross Poster by Franklin Booth, 1918

Presented is a vintage WWI poster, issued by the American Nation Red Cross in 1918. The poster was illustrated by Franklin Booth and features a large red cross in front of the U.S. Capitol building. The text “American Red Cross” and “Chartered by Congress To Relieve and Prevent Suffering In War and In Peace at Home & Abroad” is printed at top and bottom of the poster, in white and gray. 

The American Red Cross made a major contribution to aid the wounded during World War I. Within weeks of the outbreak of the war, the Red Cross dispatched the SS Red Cross and Mercy Ship, which brought units of physicians and nurses, surgical equipment, and hospital supplies to seven warring European nations. This medical aid reached soldiers on both sides of the conflict.

When the United States officially entered the war in April of 1917, the organization began a period of remarkable growth. Bound by its government charter to support the U.S. military, the Red Cross was championed by President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson called upon the American people to back the organization in its support of thousands of young men heading to the battlefields of Europe. In 1917, the Red Cross’ Production Corps services expanded and encompassed the active U.S. military. Other services that developed during the first World War included hospital service, camp, canteen, motor corps, and home service.

The American Red Cross staff and volunteers also built hospitals, health clinics and dispensaries, and organized public health campaigns against diseases like typhus and tuberculosis. They took steps to reform sanitation in many countries and introduced nursing schools in several major cities. The Red Cross’ efforts for Europe went well beyond immediate material relief to include long-term, comprehensive social welfare projects. By the war’s end, the Red Cross had become a major humanitarian organization.

Posters such as this one were issued to build up the Red Cross’ war fund, as well as its annual membership. The posters were wildly successful. At the start of the war, Red Cross membership hovered around 10,000 American citizens. By 1918, roughly 22 million adults and 11 million children, almost a third of the total US population at that time, had joined the American Red Cross and contributed at least $1.00 to the organization.


Very good condition. Color lithographed poster. A little creasing, mostly at corners, a few short marginal tears, since stabilized in its frame. Framed to archival standards with acid-free mats and a custom-built wooden frame.

Dimensions: 29 3/4" H x 22 1/2" W x 1 3/4" D

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