Guide to the Whatcom County Chapter of the American National Red Cross Records

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Whatcom County Chapter of the American National Red Cross
Title: Whatcom County Chapter of the American National Red Cross Records
Dates: 1917-1999 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 5 cubic feet
Collection Number: XOE_CPNWS0079redcross
Summary: The Whatcom County Chapter of the American National Red Cross records span the period 1917 to 1999. These records document the establishment, goals and activities of this chapter based in Bellingham, Washington. The collection includes administrative and financial records, correspondence, publications, chapter event and property records, photographs and scrapbooks.
Repository: Western Washington University, Heritage Resources
Contact Information: Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
Goltz-Murray Building
808 25th St
Bellingham, WA
Telephone: 360-650-7747
Languages: Collection materials are in English. 
Sponsor: Funding for preparing this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. Funding for encoding the finding aid was awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

The Whatcom County Chapter of the American National Red Cross was founded by Mrs. E.W. Purdy in Bellingham, Washington in 1917. Originally named the "Bellingham Chapter of the American Red Cross", the chapter was started in response to the entrance of the United States into World War I. The first meeting was attended by twenty-seven people. On March 1, 1917, a meeting was held at which officers, an executive committee, and twenty committee chairs were elected. The charter for the chapter is dated March 15, 1917.

By the end of World War I the chapter had grown to over 15,000 members with 23 branches and 18 auxiliaries*. The branches gathered and provided surgical dressings, clothes, transportation, linens, civilian relief, nurses, and financial aid for the war effort. Quotas were set by the national organization each month which the local chapter consistently met and exceeded.

Although membership declined in the post-war years, the chapter continued to provide health and educational services to the community. Programs included First Aid, Swim-for-Health, Water Safety, Water Sports, Aid for Visiting Nurses, Emergency Relief, and Flood Relief. During the Depression years, the chapter provided milk for up to 160 families with small children.

On April 5, 1934 the executive board voted to change the chapter’s name to the Whatcom County Chapter of the American National Red Cross to more accurately reflect its membership and constituency.

The chapter experienced a revitalization during the World War II years when many new and old programs were brought to life. The Nurses’ Recruitment and Placement Service provided sixty nurse volunteers from Whatcom County and the Production Corps had approximately 4,000 volunteers. Other services included The Home Service Department and the Camp and Hospital Corps. In addition to work done by recruited nurses, the chapter coordinated volunteer work through the Gray Ladies and the Nurses’ Aide Corps. The Junior Red Cross, established by the chapter in November 1917, also saw its membership peak during this time.

During the interwar period, and following the end of World War II, chapter membership declined. The chapter focused its attention on service to veterans and their families, as well as emergency medical training and disaster relief. During the 1960s, the chapter initiated a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) program. Although aimed initially at medical and allied health professionals in Whatcom County, CPR training and first aid courses were extended to the general public in the 1970s. The Red Cross has continued to provide services to the Whatcom County community through, for example, the Volunteer Disaster Service which responded to terrible flooding in 1983.

*As reported in "A Brief History of the Whatcom County Chapter, American Red Cross", Whatcom County Chapter of the American National Red Cross Records.

Content Description

The Whatcom County Chapter of the American National Red Cross records comprise approximately five linear feet of materials, spanning the period 1917 to 1999. These records document the establishment, goals and activities of this chapter based in Bellingham, Washington. The collection includes administrative and financial records, correspondence, publications, chapter event and property records, photographs and scrapbooks.

Administrative records document the founding, organizational structure and major programs of the Whatcom County Chapter. These include executive committee meeting minutes dating from the chapter’s founding in 1917, as well as minutes generated by various different service divisions including the Gray Ladies volunteers. Minutes are supplemented by meeting agendas, membership records and a large number of annual reports, the latter spanning the years from 1946 to 1997. Strategic plans and program records detail some of the long-term objectives of the chapter, and include a Whatcom County Emergency Services Operations Plan from 1973.

The collection contains a small number of financial records, including ledgers detailing chapter accounts since the founding of the chapter in 1917 through the 1970s. Correspondence arranged chronologically documents a variety of subjects and activities including the chapter's associations with the national-level American Red Cross, legal and business affairs, business, and communications about the new chapter building. The collection also includes a few personal letters sent by chapter affiliates during their travels abroad.

Publications include local chapter newsletters and bulletins documenting chapter events and programs from 1918 onwards. The collection also contains publications produced by the national American Red Cross, including informational and instructional materials produced during the war years, training manuals and annual meeting publications from the 1980s and 1990s. Some older publications include the Veterans’ Claims: Guide for Home Service Workers, dated 1952 and Your Red Cross Carries On, dated 1947.

Chapter event materials document annual dinners between 1941 and 1963, information on the Christmas Bags for Men of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps Ill in Hospitals Abroad and Stationed on the Most Remote Posts (1936) and miscellaneous other event materials.

Legal and property records pertain largely to the construction of a new chapter building in 1961. These include contracts and order records. The property materials also contain documentation of the acquisition of a property left to the chapter in the last will and testament of Delilah A. Mitchell in 1953.

Histories include local chapter histories including a 40-year history and a 75-year history of the Bellingham and Whatcom County Chapters. Also included are some national history overviews.

Photographs document the members and activities of the Bellingham Chapter, the Whatcom County Chapter, the Junior Red Cross, Nursing Services, and the Whatcom Leadership Training Center.

Certificates and Awards contain recognition of chapter achievements and services throughout its presence in Whatcom County. Most of these come from the national American Red Cross.

A large number of newspaper clippings are included in this collection covering a wide range of Red Cross activities between 1949 and 1999. These include documentation of many Bellingham and Whatcom County Chapter events, as well as chapter achievements. Clippings are from local newspapers but do include some national advertisements.

There are several scrapbooks included in this collection documenting many local chapter events, achievements, and services between 1941 and 1969. The two Junior Red Cross scrapbooks document the services and achievements of the Whatcom County chapter of the Junior Red Cross. The scrapbooks also document fund drives and additional newspaper clippings as well as some photographs and correspondence.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

The collection is open to the public.

Preferred Citation :  

Whatcom County Chapter of the American National Red Cross Records, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Heritage Resources, Western Washington University, Bellingham WA 98225-9123.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

The Whatcom County Chapter of the American National Red Cross records are organized in accordance with the following series and subseries arrangement:

  • Series I: Administrative Records
    • Subseries 1: Bylaws, mission statement and constitution
    • Subseries 2: Meeting minutes
    • Subseries 3: Meeting agendas
    • Subseries 4: Board and committee materials
    • Subseries 5: Reports
    • Subseries 6: Plans and Programs
    • Subseries 7: membership and station information
  • Series II: Financial Records
  • Series III: Correspondence
  • Series IV: Publications
  • Series V: Chapter events
  • Series VI: Legal and property materials
  • Series VII: Histories
  • Series VIII: Photographs
  • Series IX: Certificates and awards
  • Series X: Newspaper clippings
  • Series XI: Sheet music
  • Series XII: Scrapbooks
Acquisition Information :  

Materials were donated by Charlie Cross, Shelly Parsons, and Randall H. Carroll to the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies in June 1997.

Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Series I:  Administrative Records, 1917-1997
Subseries 1: Bylaws and Mission Statements 1958-1985
1/1 Bylaws 1985,; undated
1/2 Mission statements undated
1/3 Constitution (United Good Neighbors of Whatcom County) 1958
Subseries 2: Meeting Minutes 1917-1993
Sub-subseries 1: Board and Executive Committee Minutes 1917-1993
1/4 Board of Directors 1987 February 18-1993 September 22
1/5 Board meeting minutes, program chair meetings 1984-1986
1/6 Executive Committee 1917-1924
1/7 Executive Committee 1925-1954
1/8 Executive Committee 1987-1991
Sub-subseries 2: Committee and Service Group Minutes 1944-1993
1/9 A.R.C. Learning Experience by Regional Training (A.L.E.R.T.) Committee 1991 September 27
1/10 City-County Red Cross Units 1944-1947
1/11 Financial Development Committee 1987 March 16,; 1988 September 15,; 1988 November 30
1/12 Gray Ladies 1957-1970
1/13 Mt. Baker Theatre Center Act II Capital Campaign Task Force 1993 October 13
1/14 Nominating Committee 1995 September 21,; undated
1/15 Planned Giving Advisory Committee 1991 September 11-1993 August 10
1/16 Production Division 1944 February 8
1/17 Service Groups 1944 January 10-1944 June 12,; 1947 March 10
1/18 Volunteer Committee 1989 September 13,; undated
1/19 Volunteer Services 1945 October-1945 November
Subseries 3: Meeting Agendas 1987-1993
2/1 Board of Directors 1987-1993
2/2 Board Retreat 1987 February 18
2/3 Executive Committee 1987 February 11-1992 June 24
2/4 Financial Development Committee 1988 September 15-1990 January 10
2/5 Miscellaneous Agendas 1987 September 16-1989 October 11
2/6 Planning Committee 1988 August 29-1990 may 2
2/7 Planned Giving Advisory Committee undated
Subseries 4: Board and Committee Materials 1948-1989
2/8 Board of Directors records 1948 April-1989 October 11
2/9 Committee information and outlines 1961 November 2,; undated
Subseries 5: Reports 1944-1997
2/10 Whatcom County Chapter Annual Reports 1946-1963
2/11 Whatcom County Chapter Annual Reports 1964-1982,; 1996-1997
2/12 Snohomish and Island Counties Chapters (Annual Report) 1957 July-1960 July
2/13 Seattle-King County Chapter Annual Reports 1954-1955
2/14 Volunteer Center Monthly Report 1988
2/15 Volunteer Special Services Report 1944
Subseries 6: Plans and Programs 1949-1991
3/1 Program overviews undated
3/2 American Red Cross proposed Strategic Plan 1987-1991
3/3 Long Range Plan 1987
3/4 Whatcom County Emergency Services Operations Plan 1973 March
3/5 National Home Services Program 1949 March-1952 April
Subseries 7: Membership and Station Information
Charlie Cross was an active member of the chapter between approximately 1981 and 1983. During this time he served on the executive committee, board of directors, and various other committees. The contents of his notebook reflect some of his activities between 1981 and 1985.
3/6 Membership information undated
3/7 Monthly log of stations and volunteers 1983-1984
3/8 Charlie Cross notebook 1981-1985
3/9 Definitions of Commonly Used Red Cross Terms undated
3/10 Personnel Guidelines for Employees 1989 March

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Series II:  Financial Records, 1905-1994
3/11 Bonds and savings book circa 1956
4/1 Chapter audit 1954-1955
4/2 Chapter budgets 1987 May-1994
4/3 Chapter ledger (note: this ledger appears to track financial gifts to military forces) 1967 January-1973 September
4/4 Chapter units ledger 1945-1946
4/5 Local grant application, Gannet Foundation 1988 December 29
4/6 Revenue and expense report narratives 1988-1993
4/7 United Way allotment outlines 1988-1989

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Series III:  Correspondence, 1931-1996
5/1 Correspondence 1931-1996
5/2 Correspondence undated
5/3 Memorandum of Understanding between American National Red Cross and the Social Security Administration Bureau of Public Assistance 1961 January

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Series IV:  Publications, 1918-1996
Subseries 1: Chapter Publications 1990-1996
5/4 Newsletters 1990 July/August,; 1996 Spring
5/5 Bulletins 1990, ; 1992, ; undated
Subseries 2: National Publications 1918-1992
5/6 National 1918-1984
5/7 National undated
5/8 Your Red Cross Carries On 1947
5/9 Veterans' Claims: Guide for Home Service Workers 1952 March
5/10 Supervisory Training - Financial Administration: Participant Materials undated
5/11 Guide for Night and Weekend Workers 1980 June
5/12 Annual Meeting Publications 1982-1992
5/13 The Safety Book 1984 November

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Series V:  Chapter Events, 1936-1993
6/1 Annual Dinner 1941-1963
6/2 Christmas Bags for Men of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps Ill in Hospitals Abroad and Stationed on the Most Remote Posts 1936 March
6/3 Western Washington High School Red Cross Leadership Development Center 1963 April, ; 1964 August, ; undated
6/4 75th anniversary speech undated
6/5 Miscellaneous event materials 1944-1993, ; undated

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Series VI:  Legal and Property Materials, 1953-1985

Legal and property materials deal primarily with the construction of the new chapter building in 1961. In addition, they document the transfer of a residential property to the chapter as requested in the last will and testament of Delilah A. Mitchell upon her death in 1953.

6/6 Real estate and building records 1953 December 7-1985 January 14, ; undated
6/7 Correspondence 1953 November 16-1967 January 13
6/8 Plans and drawings 1960 March 23,; undated
6/9 Construction contract materials 1961
6/10 Whatcom County Chapter American Red Cross Facility and Fund Proposal cicra 1983

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Series VII:  Histories, 1951-1957
6/11 Chapter histories 1957, ; undated
6/12 National histories 1951 July 24, ; undated
6/13 American Red Cross: 75 Years on the Job undated

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Series VIII:  Photographs, 1930-1983
7/1 People 1930-1983
7/2 Buildings 1947, ; undated
7/3 Events 1949-1951, ; undated
7/4 Disasters 1951, ; 1983, ; undated
7/5 Junior Red Cross 1951, ; undated
7/6 Leadership Training Center 1960-1965
7/7 Nursing Services 1949,; undated

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Series IX:  Certificates and Awards, 1943-1992
7/8 Certificates and Awards 1943-1992

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Series X:  Newspaper Clippings, 1940-1999
7/9 Clippings 1940-1949
7/10 Clippings 1950-1959
7/11 Clippings 1960-1969
7/12 Clippings 1970-1979
8/1 Clippings 1980-1989
8/2 Clippings 1980-1989 (continued)
8/3 Clippings 1990-1999
8/4 Clippings undated

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Series XI:  Sheet Music, 1940-1941
8/5 Junior Red Cross Sheet Music 1940 November, ; 1941 January

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Series XII:  Scrapbooks, 1941-1969
9/1 Chapter scrapbook 1941-1943
9/2 Chapter scrapbook 1946-1948
9/3 Blaine chapter scrapbook 1941-1943
9/4 Thank you letters 1943
10/1 Newspaper clippings 1947-1948
10/2 Chapter scrapbook 1948-1950
10/3 Chapter scrapbook 1948-1953
11/1 Chapter scrapbook 1953-1963
11/2 Chapter scrapbook 1963-1964
11/3 Chapter scrapbook 1964-1967
11/4 Chapter scrapbook 1967-1969
12/1 Chapter scrapbook 1975-1978
12/2 Junior Red Cross 1950
12/3 Junior Red Cross 1947-1952
12/4 Fund drives 1948-1949

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This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Corporate Names :
  • American Red Cross--Washington (State)
  • Subject Terms :
  • American Red Cross --Washington (State)--Whatcom County--Bellingham--History--Sources
  • Community life--Washington (State)--Bellingham--History--Sources
  • Women in charitable work--Washington (State)--Bellingham--History--Sources
  • Women--Societies and clubs--Washington (State)--Bellingham--History--Sources
  • Youth--Societies and clubs--Washington (State)--Bellingham--History--Sources
    • Occupations :
    • Nursing
    • Other Creators :
    • Whatcom County Chapter of the American National Red Cross--Washington (State)--Bellingham

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