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This World War I poster, issued by the Committee on Public Safety in the state of New Hampshire, solicits money for the Red Cross. It depicts a Red Cross nurse offering a wounded soldier a drink from a canteen. The bold text above reads, “Your money or his life.” Like many posters produced during the war, the imagery and text in this poster contrasts and draws a parallel between the heroic sacrifices of those at the front with the un-heroic but important act of contributing money to the war effort. The American Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton in Washington, D.C. on May 21, 1881. During World War I, the Red Cross staffed hospitals and ambulance companies and recruited 18,000 registered nurses to serve with the military. The organization expanded rapidly during the war, with the number of local chapters growing from 107 in 1914 to 3,864 in 1918 and membership from 17,000 to over 20 million adult and 11 million Junior Red Cross members in the same period. The public contributed $400 million to support Red Cross programs, which served U.S. and Allied forces and civilian refugees.

Last updated: February 10, 2014