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American Red Cross, Dayton Area Chapter Records

Identifier: MS-121

Scope and Contents

The records document the establishment and growth of the Red Cross in Dayton. The minutes, correspondence, and annual reports of the various offices, boards, and committees provide a clear picture of the programs and activities of the chapter. Local and national publications present the purpose and goals of the Red Cross and the methods for accomplishing those goals pursued over the years. Scrapbooks, photographs, and financial ledgers provide a more intimate picture of the functioning of the Dayton Area Chapter. The collection also includes a wealth of historical material on the early years of the Red Cross in Dayton, as well as correspondence and records of the Greene County and Preble County chapters prior to their merger with the Dayton Chapter in 1960. The collection is arranged into 13 series.

Series I, History and Background Materials, 1917-1981, includes histories of the National Red Cross as well as the local chapter; correspondence related to development of the chapter by-laws; materials associated with the chapter merger in 1960, the 50th anniversary of the chapter in 1967, and the centenary celebration in 1981; and histories of the Greene and Preble County chapters. Of particular interest are the numerous awards and certificates bestowed upon the chapter (also see oversize materials), and folders containing biographical data of past chapter personnel.

Series II, Annual Reports and Programs, 1918-1998, contains annual reports, annual meeting programs, and annual financial reports for a significant span of the organization’s existence. All of these items are also available on microfilm (MFM 24, Roll 2). Annual Statistical Reports of the chapter, which were published from 1948 1969, are also recorded on microfilm (MFM 24, Roll 3). The originals of these were not retained. Please note that more financial records in the form of ledgers and campaign reports are located in Series IX, Financial Ledgers, 1917-1951, 1972-1996.

Series III, Minutes, 1917-1978, includes minutes of the Board of Directors (also on MFM 24, Roll 1), early minutes of the Miamisburg Red Cross, minutes of the Executive Committee, and minutes of approximately 35 other chapter committees and special groups. Many of the latter are sparse and/or incomplete.

Series IV, Correspondence, 1917-1997, is very diverse. The early correspondence of the Dayton Chapter and other Montgomery County Chapters is classified as general and is arranged chronologically. After 1941, however, the correspondence was voluminous enough to divide into categories by program, including: Administrative and Financial, Legal, Board of Directors, Disaster Services, Nursing Services, etc. The annual campaign correspondence will be of especial value to researchers interested in the history of community fundraising in Dayton. Also included is correspondence of the Southwest Ohio Association of Chapters and the Western Ohio Division. Each of these categories contains a wealth of correspondence related to the specific programs concerned. Correspondence from the early years in Dayton is particularly interesting for those researching the roots of the Dayton Area Chapter and the broad community support the chapter enjoyed.

Series V, Greene County, 1936-1964, 1974, 1980, contains minutes, annual meeting programs, correspondence, award certificates, and campaign materials from the Greene County Chapter before it was merged with the Montgomery County and Preble County chapters in 1960 to form the Dayton Area Chapter of the Red Cross. This series also contains documentation specific to Greene County following the merger, such as the Xenia Tornado in 1974.

Series VI, Preble County, 1917-1959, contains history and by-laws of the chapter, minutes, correspondence, and certificates and awards documenting the chapter prior to its merger with Montgomery and Preble counties in 1960 to form the Dayton Area Chapter of the Red Cross.

Series VII, Publications, 1913-1998, contains both nationally and locally generated publications, many of which were part of the Dayton Area Chapter’s Library. Of special interest are the historical publications, Dayton chapter directories, and strong run of Dayton chapter newsletters. Also included in this series are speeches, plays, and publicity scripts used in the Dayton area. The remainder of the publications are filed by program area, and in many cases provide a chronology of pamphlets documenting the development of the various Red Cross programs.

Series VIII, Scrapbooks, 1930, 1942-1961, 1966, contains six scrapbooks maintained by different chapter offices, and a series of four scrapbooks created by Mrs. L. A. Sutermeister (covering the years 1942 1961). A large scrapbook documenting the nurse's aide program in Dayton is housed with the oversize materials.

Series IX, Financial Ledgers, 1917-1951, 1972-1996, consists of the earliest ledgers in the organization’s history. In addition are financial planning, budgets, and reports for the capital campaign in the 1980s-1990s. For more financial reports from the annual membership campaigns, see Series IV, Correspondence, containing campaign binders for 1990-1995. For an overview of chapter financial development from 1918-1980, see Series II, Subseries 3 containing annual financial reports.

Series X, Photographs, 1898-1996 (bulk 1940-1970), contains the photographic history of the Red Cross. The photographs derive from the national and international Red Cross, as well as the Dayton Area Chapter. Several photographs are by Preston Mayfield. The series is divided by category: Historical, Buildings, Personnel, Annual Meetings, the various programs, Junior Red Cross, etc. Also included are photographs mounted on cardboard by the organization for display and exhibition. A number of group photographs are housed with the oversize materials.

Series XI, Audio/Visual Recordings, 1998, Undated, consists primarily of prepared public service spots on audio discs. A recording of an undated annual meeting is also in this series, along with a VHS tape of the 1998 Miami Valley Hero’s Breakfast.

Series XII, Newspaper Clippings, 1931-1979, 1991, contains a sizable number of clippings, many of which are pasted to paper with the publication and date identified. The clippings are primarily organized by county and region. Clippings on particular topics are under Subseries 9. Clippings on the topic of the Xenia Tornado in 1974 are also available on microfilm (MFM 24, Roll 4).

Series XIII. Ephemera, 1940-1945, Undated, includes three dimensional artifacts such as ribbons, pins, and buttons distributed to the public, and worn by Red Cross volunteers. Clothing patterns for making uniforms are also in this series.


  • Creation: 1898-1998
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1917-1981


Conditions Governing Access

There are no donor-imposed restrictions on accessing material in this collection; however, due to preservation concerns, only reference copies of original audio and video materials can be accessed in the reading room. Items without reference copies can be digitized at the request of a patron for the cost of creating a digital copy. Please provide us at least two weeks advance notice if you would like to request an audio or video reference copy. Call (937) 775-2092 or e-mail us at Use of digitized content is subject to conditions governing use.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Historical Note

The Dayton Chapter of the American Red Cross was founded in 1917 by Dayton citizens dedicated to the relief of suffering during the First World War. Their deep concern was shared by citizens throughout the Miami Valley; in 1917 and 1918 local chapters were formed in at least 11 other Montgomery County communities (all now part of the Dayton Area Chapter). The early correspondence of these chapters isn largely concerned with fund-raising campaigns (Red Cross Roll Calls) and production of materials to assist in the war effort.

The early Red Cross was a popular organization, primarily because of services rendered during the war, but also because of vital assistance provided during local disasters. The Dayton Chapter was well supported by private citizens, as well as by local industries and businessmen, with pledges of membership (then $1) often coming from entire groups of factory workers and other employees. This archival collection contains letter of endorsement for the Annual Red Cross Roll Call from such persons as Ohio Senators Frank B. Willis and Atlee Pomerene, President Warren Harding, and Reverend Bill Sunday.

World War II was again a period of intense activity for the Dayton Chapter, particularly for the office of Service to Military Families. Many Dayton people served the Red Cross overseas during the war. In addition, the entire Dayton community, including the Red Cross was involved in Civil Defense programs (see 1942 general correspondence).

In peace time the Dayton Red Cross has devoted itself to its many community-related programs, including disaster relief, nursing services, the blood program, transportation services, first aid, home care, nurse's aide, and water safety training programs, and of course, the Junior Red Cross.

In 1960 the Montgomery County chapter merged with the Preble and Greene County chapters to become the Dayton Area Chapter. In 1968 the building at 370 W. First Street currently occupied by the Dayton Area Chapter was purchased from the IBM Corporation and modified for the chapter's use, and the move from the old headquarters at 28 W. Monument was completed in December of that year.


36 linear feet

Language of Materials



Contains a variety of materials on the establishment and growth of the Red Cross in Dayton as well as the records of the Greene and Preble County Chapters prior to their merger with the Dayton Chapter in 1960. The collection includes Board of Directors and committee meeting minutes, annual reports, programs, extensive correspondence, financial records, audio materials, photographs, and newspaper clippings.


The collection is arranged into 13 series:

Series I.
History and Background Materials, 1917-1981
Series II.
Annual Reports and Programs, 1918-1998
Subseries 1.
Annual Reports, 1924, 1932, 1939-1998
Subseries 2.
Annual Meeting Programs, 1920, 1944-1988
Subseries 3.
Annual Financial Reports, 1918-1980, 1986, 1997
Series III.
Minutes, 1917-1978
Subseries 1.
Minutes, Board of Directors, 1917-1978
Subseries 2.
Minutes, Miamisburg Red Cross, 1917 1925
Subseries 3.
Minutes, Miscellaneous Committees and Boards, 1918-1972
Series IV.
Correspondence, 1917-1997 (bulk 1917-1975)
Subseries 1.
Early Montgomery County branches, 1917-1927
Subseries 2.
Early Dayton Chapter, 1917 1921
Subseries 3.
Dayton Chapter – General, 1922 1942
Subseries 4.
Administrative and Financial, 1941 1973
Subseries 5.
Legal, 1944-1963
Subseries 6.
Board of Directors, 1945-1973
Subseries 7.
Disaster Services, 1943 1973
Subseries 8.
Nursing Services, 1925 1967
Subseries 9.
Annual Membership Campaigns, 1951 1997
Subseries 10.
Program Correspondence, 1941-1979, 1995
Subseries 11.
Junior Red Cross, 1960 1971
Subseries 12.
POW's and War Relief World War II, 1939-1955
Subseries 13.
Letters to Chapter Executives, 1966-1978, 1985
Subseries 14.
Letters to Chapter Chairmen, 1967-1971
Subseries 15.
Southwest Ohio Association of Chapters, 1941-1964
Subseries 16.
Southwest Ohio Combined Service Territory, 1964-1971
Subseries 17.
Western Ohio Division, 1972-1975
Series V.
Greene County, 1936-1964, 1974, 1980
Series VI.
Preble County, 1917-1959
Series VII.
Publications, 1913-1998
Subseries 1.
Historical, 1917-1981
Subseries 2.
Chapter directories, 1943-1963, 1986
Subseries 3.
Administration and Chapter newsletters, 1940-1997
Subseries 4.
Campaign materials, 1948-1997
Subseries 5.
Reports to the Governor, 1967-1969
Subseries 6.
Programs, 1913-1978, 1997-1998
Subseries 7.
Junior Red Cross, 1945-1977
Subseries 8.
Speeches, plays, publicity scripts, and award certificates, 1937-1970
Series VIII.
Scrapbooks, 1930, 1942-1961, 1966
Series IX.
Financial Ledgers, 1917-1951, 1972-1996
Series X.
Photographs, 1898-1996 (bulk 1940-1970)
Subseries 1.
National, circa 1940-1964, 1971
Subseries 2.
International, circa 1945-1958, 1967
Subseries 3.
Historical, 1898-1970
Subseries 4.
Dayton Area Chapter (DAC), 1917-1996
Subseries 5.
Greene County, 1974
Series XI.
Audio/Visual Recordings, 1998 Undated
Series XII.
Newspaper Clippings, 1931-1979, 1991
Subseries 1.
Montgomery County 1940 1979
Subseries 2.
Greene County 1931 1971
Subseries 3.
Greene and Montgomery Counties 1951-1975, 1991
Subseries 4.
Greene and Preble Counties, 1960-1968
Subseries 5:
Preble County 1970 1971
Subseries 6.
Miami Valley Area, 1980-1981
Subseries 7:
Western Ohio Division 1971 1976
Subseries 8.
United Appeal/United Way Campaigns, 1959 1980
Subseries 9.
Topics, 1931, 1955 1974
Series XIII:
Ephemera, 1940-1945, Undated

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The records of the Dayton Area Chapter of the American Red Cross were donated to the Wright State University Archives in 1977, 1981, 1982, 1999, and 2009.

Related Materials

American National Red Cross Records are located at the National Archives (Identifier 783).

Separated Materials

MFM-24 American Red Cross, Dayton Area Chapter Records, 1917-1980, consisting of 4 reels of microfilm of select records in this collection, is available in the Special Collections and Archives microfilm drawers(DB Rolls 1953-1956). The reels are listed in the finding aid with the corresponding records, which include Board of Director’s minutes, financial reports, annual reports, annual meeting programs, statistical reports, and clippings of the 1974 Xenia, Ohio tornado.

Guide to the American Red Cross, Dayton Area Chapter (MS-121) Records
Lois E. Walker
1982 January 15
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 1986 May 22: Additions processed by Beth J. Parker Miller.
  • 1995 August 15: Additions processed by Amy T. Speelman.
  • 2017 April 16: Additions processed by Kaitlyn E. Griffith
  • 2017 October: Collection rehoused and finding aid revised according to DACS by Toni Vanden Bos and Karen Pittman.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA