|The Red Cross Shoes were a commerical product
which had no connection to the American Red Cross Service. The international
and American Red Cross became very popular at the end of 19th century and
several companies decided to adopt the name or emblem for their purpose.
One of these companies was the Nine West or U.S. Shoe Corporation which
had used the Red Cross name and emblem for their shoes since 1891.
When the American Red Cross finally was given
an official charter by Congress in 1905, the government enacted Federal
Criminal Code Prohibitions against the use of the Red Cross name and emblem
at the same time. This measure was designed to ensure universal respect
for the protective nature of the Red Cross symbol and was obligatory for
all governments adhering to the Geneva Convention.
Section 706, Title 18, U.S. Criminal Code,
reads as follows:
|"Whoever wears or displays the sign of the
Red Cross or any insignia colored in imitation thereof for the fraudulent
purpose of inducing the belief that he is a member of or an agent for the
American National Red Cross"
"Whoever, whether a corporation, association
or person, other than the American National Red Cross and its duly authorized
employees and agents and the sanitary and hospital authorities of the armed
forces of the United States, uses the emblem of the Greek red cross on
a white ground, or any sign or insignia made or colored in imitation thereof
or the words "Red Cross" or "Geneva Cross" or any combination of these
words shall be fined or imprisoned."
||However, the United States government did
not take away rights that existed before the enactment and therefore, companies
who had used the name and emblem prior 1905 were entitled to continue the
usage. The Red Cross Shoes fell under this exception for pre-1905 users.
Nevertheless, when president Roosevelt had
asked that the name of the "Red Cross" should be discontinued in connection
with commerical products during the war, the Red Cross Shoes were renamed
as "Gold Cross Shoes" in the spring of 1943. A few years after the war,
the old name "Red Cross Shoes" was resumed because of its prewar name-brand
Although Red Cross Shoes were not especially
made for Red Cross workers, Red Cross personnel as well as service women
of other branches could wear Red Cross Shoe models which met the corresponding
requirements for service shoes. The following advertising specifially points
out the variety of people who favor and wear Red Cross Shoes including
female service personnel:
|From the U.S.O. canteens in Boston to the aircraft
assembly lines in Baltimore, American women voted ... Washington secretaries
... members of the American Volunteer Services ... Nurses' Aides ... War
Bond Commitee women ... college girls ... war brides. A thousand of them
were asked to choose from a group of the new Gold Cross Shoes the ones
they consider smartest and "rightest" for this wartime Springtime. Meet
the winners on this page.
See them ... see for yourself that the makers
of Gold Cross Shoes "have a way" with the classic shoe that makes it young
and exciting ... that makes of simplicity something gay and spirited and
feminine. Choose them ... casual, easy shoes for day-long duty ... staunch,
young shoes for walking and working ... date-dress shoes that manage to
be pretty without being fussy. Every pair made over the famous "Limit"
Lasts to fit your feet perfectly ... to keep your step young and tireless.
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