American Red Cross, Wabash Valley Chapter
Dates: 1918-1989
Accession Number: 990331A
Description: Ten file folders in a document case


Chartered by Congress in 1905, the Red Cross was established as a quasi-governmental agency with certain obligations imposed upon it in regards to disasters, personnel in the Armed Forces and certain health activities. During World War I, a group of Terre Haute citizens petitioned the American National Red Cross to form a local chapter and agreed to provide basic Home Service to members of the Armed Forces and to offer disaster preparedness and relief. The original charter was issued to the Terre Haute Chapter on February 17, 1917. William C. Ball served as the first chairman of the Board of Directors and the first meetings were held at the Terre Haute Commercial Club.

Over the years, the local chapter has offered a variety of basic services: Home Service (to members of the Armed Forces), Safety Services (which includes first aid and water safety), Nursing Services, Disaster Preparedness and Relief, and a Community Blood Program. (For a more detailed description of these services, see the POSTAL reports in folders 6 and 7.)

A new charter was issued on March 15, 1955 to the Terre Haute-Vigo County Chapter in order to expand the area served. On March 19, 1962, the Wabash Valley Chapter was created under another charter to include both Vigo and Vermillion counties. The local chapter is governed by a Board of Directors selected from the membership at large and is funded by voluntary contributions as a United Way agency.

Although the Wabash Valley Chapter headquarters has changed locations over the years, it is currently housed at 700 South Third Street in the Frances O'Boyle Foster Memorial Headquarters which was built and dedicated in 1965. (For detailed information on the local American Red Cross building, see folder 4).

Content and Scope of the Collection

This collection was generated from miscellaneous material in the Community Affairs File in Special Collections. It primarily contains newsletters (The Courier and The Wabash Valley Courier) of the local chapter of the American Red Cross and a series of monthly reports from the Executive Director entitled, "POSTAL" (Progress Of Service To All). The main time period represented is 1954-1966. Also included in the collection are some miscellaneous records, such as fundraising letters, information fact sheets and booklets, annual reports, and programs.

This collection is valuable in documenting the services and activities of the Wabash Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross. It also contains information on some of the local disasters in Terre Haute history in which the Red Cross provided relief. Of special note: the fire in downtown Terre Haute (see POSTAL report, April 1963 issue) and the Home Packing Company explosion (see POSTAL report, January 1963 issue).

For related material, see "Red Cross (WV)" file in the CAF--Archives, the Community Chest of Terre Haute (Accession #891215, D.C. 8), and United Way: Audit Records of Agencies (Accession #840906).

Document Case





Folder 1

Miscellaneous items:




Five American Red Cross stamps








Flood relief tag








Sample membership card






Folder 2

Junior Red Cross membership
drive instructions






Fundraising letters and information
fact sheets and booklets

1954; 1961




Folder 3

Annual meeting program
(2 copies)






Annual report
(2 copies)





Folder 4

Frances O'Boyle Foster
Memorial Headquarters
(brochure for the opening of the new building)






Volunteer Reception (program)





Folder 5

The Courier (newsletter), Vol. I, No. 1

Jan.-Feb. 1954





The Courier, Vol. I, No. 3

May 1954





The Courier, Vol. II, No. 4

May 1955




Folder 6

POSTAL (Progress Of Service To All) - monthly reports from the Executive Director

July 1961-
Nov. 1961




Folder 7


Feb. 1962-June 1962




Folder 8


Jan. 1963; April 1963




Folder 9

Wabash Valley Courier

March 1965-
June/July 1965




Folder 10

Wabash Valley Courier

Aug./Sept. 1965-
ca. March 1966






ca. May 1966