The State College Chapter of the American Red Cross was founded on March 27, 1917 by Katharine Cotton Sparks,  wife of then Penn State president, Edwin Sparks. It was Katharine’s dream to bring the forces of town and gown together to improve the welfare of the community through an emergency response organization.

As we celebrate the Centennial of the Centre Communities Chapter of the American Red Cross, it is fitting that we highlight the role’s of Hilda Patton Thompson and her sister Alice Irvin Thompson that spanned over WWI and WWII.

Hilda and Alice Thompson, granddaughters of Moses & Mary Thompson of Centre Furnace, were both fervid humanitarians. They supported the men overseas through their unstoppable efforts at the Red Cross clubs and battlefield relief work during WWI and WWII. Neither Hilda nor Alice ever gave up the ideals instilled in them through their training, and both carried on volunteering after their retirement.

CCHS extends special thanks to intern and Penn State student, Priscilla Mariani for her research and work on this exhibition and to Virginia Brown and the Centre Communities Chapter of the American Red Cross.

This display will be on view through February 2018 during regular tour hours Wednesday/Friday/Sunday 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at the Centre Furnace Mansion.