Object of the Week: Civil Defense Medical Corp Armband

Civil Defense Medical Corp Armband
embroidered textile
mid-20th century
Leonard Dreyfuss papers
MSS 0001
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections

 

JANUARY IS NATIONAL BLOOD DONOR MONTH

            First observed in January 1970, National Blood Donor Month brings attention to the heightened need for blood and platelet donations in the winter months, typically the most difficult time of the year to meet

Notice of Re-Appointment to Board of Directors, The American Red Cross – Newark Chapter, January 26, 1943, Leonard Dreyfuss papers, MSS 0001, Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections.
Notice of Re-Appointment to Board of Directors
The American Red Cross – Newark Chapter
January 26, 1943
Leonard Dreyfuss papers (MSS 0001)
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections

patients’ needs for these products.  Inclement weather and the onset of flu season shrinks the donor pool while demand increases.[1]  Though COVID-19 has altered our daily lives, hospitals and clinics still serve patients in need of blood transfusions. COVID-19 has forced many health care facilities to serve patients at a different capacity by temporarily closing clinics and suspending elective services and procedures or shifting to virtual care in many cases. Yet the need for blood still exists to perform transfusions in most emergent cases, such as traumas, cancer patients, orthopedic surgeries, and many others.  Unfortunately, while the need for blood is growing, fewer people are donating presently.[2]

Did you know that one in seven hospital patients will use blood?  Or that one in 83 births will require a blood transfusion?  If you know someone who has cancer, is pregnant, or has sickle-cell disease, then you might know someone who may need blood.  On December 31, 1969 President Richard Nixon proclaimed January 1970 as the first official observance of National Blood Donor Month as requested by Senate Joint Resolution 154, to

Certificate of Merit from American Red Cross – Newark Chapter 1943 Leonard Dreyfuss papers MSS 0001 Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections
Certificate of Merit from American Red Cross – Newark Chapter
1943
Leonard Dreyfuss Papers (MSS 0001)
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections

pay tribute to voluntary blood donors and encourage new donors.[3]  The American Red Cross provides roughly 35% of donated blood in the United States, while community-based organizations provide 60% and the remaining 5% of the blood supply is collected directly by hospitals.[4]  The American Red Cross was founded in Dansville, New York in 1881 by Clara Barton, who served as a nurse during the American Civil War.[5]

These objects are from the Leonard Dreyfuss Collection on deposit at the university’s Archives and Special Collections.  Leonard Dreyfuss served as Chair of the Newark Chapter of the American Red Cross from 1956 to 1960, and was distinguished as an honorary director of the of the chapter for life.[6]  He also volunteered for the New Jersey Civil Defense which was formed by legislation in 1942 “to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the people of the State of New Jersey and to aid in the prevention of damage to and the destruction of property during any emergency.”[7] Dreyfuss also served as a trustee of the Newark Museum and the advisory board at Seton Hall University, which awarded him an honorary degree in 1950. Leonard Dreyfuss was born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 6, 1886.  In 1914, he joined the Newark Sign Company – an outdoor sign

Christmas Roll Call Acknowledgement Letter American Red Cross – Newark Chapter January 12, 1919 Leonard Dreyfuss papers MSS 0001 Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections
Christmas Roll Call Acknowledgement Letter
American Red Cross – Newark Chapter
January 12, 1919
Leonard Dreyfuss papers (MSS 0001)
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections

advertising firm.  After 1923, he led a highly successful merger with several advertising companies which became known as U.A.C.  Dreyfuss rapidly moved up the executive ladder, becoming Vice President, President and finally, Chairman of the Board before retiring in 1965.  Leonard Dreyfuss died on December 29, 1969 in Essex Fells, New Jersey. [8]

The Leonard Dreyfus Papers show the namesake’s commitment to service, particularly his efforts with the Civil Defense and Newark Chapter of the American Red Cross. These materials are available to students, faculty and researchers.  For access, set up a research appointment online or contact us at 973-761-9476.

 


[1] https://www.few.org/national-blood-donor-month/ accessed 1/12/2021

[2] https://news.llu.edu/patient-care/why-giving-blood-necessary-during-pandemic accessed 1/12/2021

[3] https://www.adrp.org/NBDM accessed 1/12/2021 accessed 1/12/2021

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Red_Cross#Blood_donation, accessed 1/12/2021.

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Barton, accessed 01/12/2021.

[6] https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/repositories/2/resources/168, accessed 01/12/2021.

[7] http://ready.nj.gov/laws-directives/appendix-a.shtml, accessed 01/12/2021.

[8] https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/repositories/2/resources/168, accessed 01/12/2021.

 

Leonard Dreyfuss and New Jersey Civil Defense Display in the Archives

Currently on display in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room are items from the Leonard Dreyfuss papers, 1786-1972 (bulk 1931-1972), Mss 0001.

Leonard Dreyfuss materials on display in the Archives Reading Room
Leonard Dreyfuss materials on display in the Archives Reading Room

Leonard Dreyfuss was a resident of Newark and the city’s Outstanding Citizen of the Year in 1942. A businessman in advertising, Dreyfuss was also very active in war efforts on the home front during World War 2, and continued his civil defense involvement after the war.

The United States Civil Defense was a non-military organization created to prepare and educate Americans on potential military attacks. Their purpose was to create and inform civilians of evacuation plans, fallout shelters and routes, survival skills, and alerts. Local chapters of Civil Defense created newsletters, passed out pamphlets, and held demonstrations and test alerts so citizens would be prepared. Leonard Dreyfuss was heavily involved with the organization’s activities in New Jersey, particularly in Newark, and served on the Governor’s Civil Defense Advisory Committee during the 1950s.

Items on display include materials related to Civil Defense activities in New Jersey, including photographs and newsclippings, and items published or distributed by Civil Defense, including pamphlets, armbands, and a poster. These items demonstrate the kind of organized efforts made by local citizens to prepare for conflict. During the Second World War, Americans were concerned with supporting the war effort and about the possibility of the conflict suddenly coming to American soil; after the war, nuclear war and weapons of mass destruction became a major concern for most Americans. The materials on display reveal one aspect of how local people tried to address those concerns and prepare for the worst.

Leonard Dreyfuss and group next to Civil Defense Rescue Service truck, from the Leonard Dreyfuss papers, Mss 0001
Leonard Dreyfuss and group next to Civil Defense Rescue Service truck, from the Leonard Dreyfuss papers, Mss 0001

How do you see these activities and materials from the 1940s-1960s, and how does that compare to similar concerns today? How do you think people deal with fear of conflict at home, and do you think it has changed over time? View the materials on display and get a historical perspective!

These items will be on display through November, 2013. Special thanks go to Lucia Alvarez, intern at the Archives and Special Collections Center, for putting much of this display together.