The American Red Cross on Delmarva

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Recruiting Station for Red Cross Nurses in Wicomico County, 1919, National Archives, 20803104

On December 8, 1916, a chapter of the Red Cross was established in Salisbury in order to contribute to local humanitarian efforts during wartime and after natural disasters. While members initially helped form several short-lived branches across Wicomico County to support efforts during World War I, more permanent branches were established after the war. In Somerset County, a chapter in Princess Anne was established on May 9, 1917; Worcester County‚Äôs first chapter formed on April 22, 1918. 

Red Cross chapters on Delmarva played a large part in community service in the 1920s by providing home service care, ambulance services, and school nursing services. Several notable natural disasters, especially during the 1930s, kept volunteers busy in assisting recoveries on both sides of the peninsula. During World War II, volunteers on Delmarva donated a significant amount of supplies in support of the American troops abroad.

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Red Cross event at the Salisbury Courthouse, 1940s, Nabb Research Center, 2016.095

The chapters in Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester joined together in 1985 to become the Lower Shore Chapter, which later expanded into the Delmarva Chapter that now includes the Eastern Shore counties of Maryland and Virginia and the state of Delaware.

The Red Cross chapters on Delmarva have a long history of partnering with other humanitarian and non-profit organizations. In 1990, the Red Cross Community Service Center and Chapter House was purchased, providing space for the United Way, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Arthritis Foundation, and more until 2016. Volunteers and members continue to serve the Delmarva Peninsula through health and safety education and training, blood drives, international aid, military family assistance, and disaster relief.

The American Red Cross on Delmarva