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Canadian Red Cross Society. Alberta-Northwest Territories Division fonds

1914-2001, predominant 1920-1992

Physical Description:
6.71 m of textual records. -- ca. 350 photographs. -- 4 transcription discs. -- 12 audio reels. -- 3 audio cassettes. -- 3 video cassettes

The International Red Cross movement was founded in Geneva, Switzerland by Henri Dunant in 1863. A Canadian branch was formed in 1896 by George S. Ryerson, but it was not until 1927 that the International Committee of the Red Cross officially recognized the Canadian Red Cross as an independent national society. The Canadian Red Cross Society was composed of ten divisions, one for each province. The Alberta Division, which included branches in the NWT, was established in 1914, and for much of its history shared facilities and programs with the Calgary branch. In the First World War the Division was heavily involved in fund raising and distribution of supplies purchased with money from an extensive branch network that was developed. After the war the major efforts centred around work with veterans, child welfare, Junior Red Cross (now known as Red Cross Youth) and medical services. For a few years in the 1920s the Division ran a War Orphans Home at Brickburn and the Next-of-Kin Home in Edmonton. Cottage hospitals were opened in a number of towns including Rife, Altario, Consort, Athabasca, Pouce Coupe, Foremost and Killam. Most were closed by 1928, except Pouce Coupe. An emergency relief service began to operate in the 1920s and continued thereafter. During this time, the Red Cross provided numerous services to new immigrants, especially Ukrainians in northern Alberta and participants in the British settlement schemes. In 1922 the Division was involved in the opening of the Junior Red Cross Hospital in Calgary and assisted young patients at the University Hospital in Edmonton. In 1923 home nursing classes were organized throughout the province. During the Depression, Red Cross volunteers assisted the Alberta government and local municipalities in the supervision and distribution of its relief program. The Division also ran a hostel for the unemployed. A major reorganization took place during the Second World War as the Division prepared itself again to assist servicemen overseas and in prisoner of war camps. After the war both the Division and the Calgary Branch focused on peacetime activities, introducing many services and activities. The Water Safety program was initiated in 1946 and the Blood Transfusion Service in 1947. The Red Cross added other new programs such as Disaster Service, Sickroom Equipment Loan Service, Arts and Crafts, etc., while continuing to operate existing programs. From 1946 to 1956 the Division also operated the Yellowknife Hospital. In 1952 the Division opened the Alberta Crippled Children's Hospital in Calgary, transferring it to the Alberta Government in 1958. The Division added seniors programs in thge 1960s. In 1976 it received money from the provincial government for the construction of a new Divisional Headquarters in Calgary. In the 1980s the society's credibility came under scrutiny following accusations of a cover up in the tainted blood scandal. In 1996 the Red Cross announced that it was consolidating its administrative functions for the four western provinces in Calgary. The organization streamlined its operations by moving from a provincially run administration to a regional one. The Division Commissioner, Keith Stewart, became the new general manager for Western Canada for field operations. At the same time, the administration for blood services were centralized under Dr. Huw Lloyd. For further information see Alberta Red Cross in Peace and War : 1914-1947 / D. Geneva Lent. - Calgary, 1947.

Scope and Content:
The fonds consists of minutes, annual reports, correspondence, photographs and slides, newsletters, brochures, scrapbooks, war time records, radio and television promotions, and blood donor pins of the Alberta-NWT Division and the Calgary Branch.

Source of Acquisition:
Gift of Canadian Red Cross, Alberta Division, 1991-2003.

The material is in English.

No restrictions on access.

Finding Aids:
Inventory available. Please consult before requesting material.

View finding aid / scanned documents:

Further additions expected.

Call Numbers:
(M=manuscript; N&P=photos; R=sound recordings; S=slides; F=films)
M-8228, M-8926, PA-1680, PA-3330, PB-847, PD-298, PD-336, S-207, NA-2903, NA-3066, NA-3087, RAD-53

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