We have all heard about Clara Barton being awesome and starting the Red Cross, but there was a woman named Mabel Thorp Boardman that really made the magic happen. This Cleveland born woman was elected to the Red Cross board in 1901 and that’s when the American Red Cross started to become a really big deal.
Bottom line… chick was a rock star and I feel she totally deserves a fan club. The following images, I believe, prove my case…
She knew all the right people… You are looking at a photo of Red Cross Luncheon On General Scott’s Lawn. Boardman (second from left) is hanging with Taft (second from right) who was a close friend.
She inspired the show, Hot in Cleveland. (Okay, that a lie, but this pic is pretty amazing of her.)
In a world that was dominated by men, she forged her own path. In September 1920 Boardman became, on appointment by Pres. Woodrow Wilson, the first woman member of the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia.
She was a fashion icon and started the whole military chic fashion trend as demonstrated here.
She wasn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and get stuff done. Mabel established an endowment fund, created a unified network of nationally chartered chapters, and undertook a major expansion of Red Cross volunteer corps and Red Cross programing including the additions of nursing, first aid, water safety, and the Volunteer Special Services. When she left the Red Cross in the 40’s, we had 2.7 million volunteers.
So, for her life of philanthropy, fashion sense and vision to build the American Red Cross to the organization it is today, I say… “We salute you, Ms. Boardman!”
For a look at all the amazing women of the Red Cross, click here.
Photos courtesy of the Library of Congress online and Wikipedia.