“Universal Membership Week” was one of many posters issued during World War I to encourage support of the war. Before the war the Red Cross was a small and insignificant organization based in the U.S.. During the war, they saved money and provided help to the warring nations in Europe. Once the U.S. entered the war, the Red Cross exploded with volunteers and funding from the government. WWI made the Red Cross into a global organization that was capable of helping people around the world. The armistice between the Allies and Germany was signed in November 1918. This armistice effectively ended the war, however, the Red Cross recognized that there would be a tremendous amount of work to do after the influenza pandemic had killed an estimated 21 million people. The decision to conduct a major membership drive for the Red Cross was made in November 1918. The cover of the Central Division Bulletin (Chicago) of November 30 announced the Christmas Roll Call during the week of December 16-23 featured above. The goal of the Universal Membership Week was to enroll every American as a member. This goal was not achieved. The slogan “All that is Needed is a Heart and a Dollar” was used extensively during the campaign (Groten, 2015). This poster was commissioned by the American Red Cross from an unknown artist in 1917. The poster was most likely created and reproduced as a lithographic print at the time of it’s distribution.
WWI, poster, American Red Cross, Universal Membership Week