Skip to content

The Red Cross Seal (Edison)

December 16, 2010

The Red Cross Seal opened in U.S. theaters on December 16, 1910.*

It was sponsored by the American Red Cross along with the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis and produced and distributed by the Edison Manufacturing Company.

Red Cross Christmas Seal for 1910. Artist: Frances Lee Thompson, 1881-1964. Lithographer: Theodore Leonhardt & Son

Red Cross Christmas Seal for 1910. Artist: Frances Lee Thompson, 1881-1964. Lithographer: Theodore Leonhardt & Son

Review of the film "The Red Cross Seal" in the journal Mixer and Server, Volume 19Red Cross Seal review continued

Film was just one of many media that the Red Cross used to get the word out about their 1910 Christmas Seal fundraiser, according to a 1910 article by Philip F. Jacobs:

In connection with the sale, and as a recognized part of it, goes a comprehensive campaign of publicity and advertising. Beginning about September 1st, press bulletins, special articles, news stories and every other device known to the press agent are sent singly or in quantity to every newspaper, magazine and trade journal in the United States. The columns of newspaper and magazine notices printed during the Red Cross Seal campaign would extend for miles, if placed end to end.

Besides this campaign through the press, other methods of advertising are used also, posters, dodgers, window and wall cards and special literature of many kinds. These are distributed on billboards, in windows and shops, to individuals and in a multitude of ways, by the millions and tens of millions.

Lectures, before school children, in churches, lodges and elsewhere are also a common method of advertising the seals. Even the motion picture shows, through special films and lantern slides, tell their patrons how and why to buy Red Cross Seals. In short, almost every device known to man is utilized in this tremendous selling campaign.

According to youtuber Markdcatlin Edison created one film per year for the good folks at the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis beginning in 1910. He’s uploaded a clip from the 1914 The Temple of Moloch (1914). I think he may be getting his information from Eileen Bowser’s book The Transformation of Cinema, where on page 45, she references the film as one of many collaborations with the American Red Cross.

*I got my information from the AFI catalog. And the article quoted above also corroborates that date. According to the American Red Cross Museum, the release date was December 15, 1910 – perhaps there was an advance screening of the film on the 15th.

*Update*  Susan Robbins Watson, archivist for the American Red Cross tells me that in 2009, the American Red Cross donated all of their films to the National Archives

*Update* Miriam Posner published an article about Edison’s Tuberculosis films in the 2012 edited volume Learning with the Lights Off

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: