Since the foundation of the Red Cross in America, many direful calamities have afflicted the country. In each of these visitations the Red Cross has acted in some degree as the Almoner—the distributer and organizer—of the bountiful measures of relief that have been poured out by the American people.
Its work has been accomplished quietly and without ostentation. All the relief has been administered—not as charity—but as God-sent succor to our brothers and sisters who have been overwhelmed by some mighty convulsion of the forces of nature.
The wreckage has been cleared away, the stricken people have been wisely, tenderly, and calmly guided out of panic and despair on to the road of self-help and cooperative effort to restore their shattered homes and broken fortunes; and then the Red Cross has retired as quietly as it came, and few, outside of the people immediately concerned, have realized the beneficent powers of help and healing that have fallen like a benediction upon the stricken wherever that sacred symbol of humanity has made its way.
It is my thought that a brief account of the work of the Red Cross during the past twenty-five years will be of interest to the American people. In a volume of this size it must of necessity be but a brief outline, sufficient, however, to convey a clear impression of what the Red Cross really means to every individual in this great country of ours.
To the thousands of American men and women whose generous bounty has made the work of the Red Cross possible, to the stricken and distressed who because of it have been helped back to life and hope, and to all the friends of the great, universal humanity which it typifies, this small book is lovingly dedicated.
Glen Echo, Maryland,
May 15, 1904.