President Coolidge’s appeals for donations from the American people to the Red Cross for flood relief 

April 22, 1927

To the People of the United States:

Eight States of the Union are suffering one of the most extensive floods in the history of the country. For more than two weeks the waters of the Mississippi River and its tributaries, swollen to record volume, have been overwhelming and breaking through the levees raised to confine them within their courses. They have deluged millions of acres of agricultural land, inundated many towns, and driven thousands of people from their homes. The crest of the flood is advancing southward daily, creating new ruin.

In the past few days the situation, instead of improving, as had been hoped, has been rapidly growing worse. The flood waters have continually forced new breaches in the levees, despite the efforts of hundreds of workers, with consequent increased destruction. 

The American Red Cross reports that, by a most conservative estimate, there are now more than 75,000 refugees from the flood who must be cared for by the Red Cross. While this emergency continues, which will be for weeks, these refugees must be fed, sheltered and clothed. Their health must be protected.

In the event that the floods rise to the predicted higher levels in the next few days, the number whose most primary needs must be cared for will quickly be doubled or trebled. The situation is indeed grave.

The Government is giving such aid as lies within its power. Government boats that are available are being used to rescue those in danger and carry refugees to safety. The War Department is providing the Red Cross with tents for housing refugees. The National Guard, State and local authorities are assisting. But the burden of caring for the homeless rests upon the agency designated by Government charter to provide relief in disaster – the American National Red Cross. For so great a task, additional funds must be obtained immediately. 

It, therefore, becomes my duty as President of the United States and President of the American National Red Cross to direct the sympathy of our people to the sad plight of thousands of their fellow citizens, and to urge that generous contributions be promptly forthcoming to alleviate their suffering.

In order that there may be the utmost coordination and effectiveness in the administration of the relief fund, I recommend that all contributions, clearly designated, be forwarded to the nearest local Red Cross Chapter, or to the American National Red Cross headquarters officers at Washington, St. Louis or San Francisco. I am confident that, as always in the past, the people will support the Red Cross in its humane task.

-Calvin Coolidge

May 2, 1927

To the People of the United States:

The situation in the Mississippi Valley has developed into a grave crisis affecting a wide area in several States. There are now more than 200,000 flood refugees who have been driven from their homes. This number is being increased daily as fresh breaks in the levees inundate the country on either side of the river, driving the inhabitants to points of safety.

The refugees are being fed, sheltered and clothed by the American Red Cross, acting as the agent for the American people. The burden of their care will continue for many more weeks.

Because of the vast increase in the flooded area the sum already for will prove insufficient. The numbers to be cared for have been doubled since that call, and the crest of the flood has not reached all parts. 

In order that these thousands of our homeless fellow-citizens may continue to receive necessary care, a minimum of $10,000,000 will be needed, and it is therefore desired that the quotas originally assigned as a minimum to the various communities should be doubled. 

As President of the United States and as President of the American Red Cross, I am therefore urging our people to give promptly and most generously so that sufficient funds may be received to alleviate the suffering among so many thousands. 

For the purposes of co-ordination and effectiveness in the administration of the relief funds I recommend that all contributions be forwarded to the nearest local Red Cross chapter, or to the American National Red Cross headquarters offices at Washington, St. Louis or San Francisco. 

-Calvin Coolidge