3¢ Red Cross
Issue Date: November 21, 1952
City: New York, NY
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10½
Color: Deep blue and carmine
U.S. #1016, issued to honor the International Red Cross, was the first bi-colored U.S. postage stamp ever produced on the rotary press.
The International Red Cross
Swiss humanitarian and businessman Henry Dunant founded the International Red Cross in 1863. While on a business trip to Solferino, Italy, in 1859, Dunant witnessed the Battle of Solferino, in which nearly 40,000 soldiers were killed or wounded. Shocked by the lack of medical care, Dunant put his business aside and immediately began tending to the wounded. He convinced locals to help without discrimination.
Dunant proposed that all civilized countries establish “...permanent societies of volunteers who in time of war would give help to the wounded without regard to their nationality.” In 1863, Dunant helped organize a conference with several other countries to develop strategies to improve medical services in battle. On October 26, delegates from 16 nations met in Geneva, Switzerland, to begin laying the groundwork for such an organization. As a result, the conference began national relief societies. In 1876, the committee took the name “International Committee of the Red Cross,” which remains its title today.
American teacher and bureaucrat Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1881 after assisting the International Red Cross in Europe during the Franco-Prussian War.
Today, the International Red Cross is an organization of over 135 nations. These nations provide various forms of assistance to victims of wars and other disasters. Most also provide various medical and health programs as well as youth activities and junior divisions.
There are approximately 2,500 Red Cross chapters in the United States alone. 1,600 of these chapters consist entirely of volunteers. Many chapters have just one paid worker. Each individual chapter is controlled by one of three area offices. In turn, a 50-member board of governors, based in Washington, DC, supervises these area offices.