CT Earnest's pad and pen
CT Earnest's pad and pen.

American Red Cross WWI Mission:
Romania, 1917

A personal diary of a mission volunteer


Mission personnel

Bio of CT Earnest

Related coverage

On April 6, 1917, the United States entered World War I. One month later, on May 10, President Woodrow Wilson established the War Council of the American Red Cross (ARC) and appointed Henry P Davison of J P Morgan as Chair.

Said Wilson, "There are unlimited opportunities of broad humanitarian service in view for the American Red Cross.”

Many missions – for research and for relief on the battlefield as well as among citizens – were subsequently sent from America. The mission documented in this diary went to Romania with a specific target – Jassy/Iaeci, its second largest city and wartime capital. It succeeded in establishing two hospitals – one in Jassy for civilians, one in Roman for the military.

Similar efforts are ongoing in today’s strife-ridden countries across the globe. Too often, there are headlines about medical missionaries being kidnapped, tortured, even killed, as they try to relieve suffering in war zones.

This personal diary, hitherto unpublished, tells the story of one young volunteer who went when asked to help those less fortunate, to demonstrate man’s humanity to his fellowmen. Clyde Earnest was asked to join the mission -- as the Assistant Secretary with the rank of First Lieutenant -- from his home in Richmond, VA, by the Head Commissioner Henry Watkins Anderson, an attorney, also from Richmond, VA.

His diary was written from 1917 to 1918 as a way to share his experiences with his family. It’s a very straightforward personal reaction to the horror, discoveries and pleasures of his travels. Some parts of the diary include graphic descriptions of conditions; there is little to no political commentary in it.

The diary is being made available by Mr. Earnest’s family.


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