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The Flood Year 1927A Cultural History$
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Susan Scott Parrish

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691168838

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691168838.001.0001

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A Northern Army of Relief

A Northern Army of Relief

(p.66) Two A Northern Army of Relief
The Flood Year 1927

Susan Scott Parrish

Princeton University Press

The Red Cross needed to draw national and international attention to the flood to prevent it from causing greater devastation of life. Commanded by the executive branch and aided by the military, the Red Cross enjoined privately owned media channels—newspapers, magazines, radio broadcasting companies, moving picture theaters—not only to disseminate the messages crafted by its Public Information bureau but also to be official channels for collecting donations from the public. This chapter considers how the media and entertainment industries produced public engagement out of the flood. The publicity push skirted the issue of the flood as evidence of a federal engineering blunder by representing relief efforts as a massive and flawless technocratic mechanism assembled by the country's best experts. At the broadest level, military scenes dominated the narrative. The flood was imagined as a fight between modern organization and primordial forces, as a battle between modern and ancient.

Keywords:   Red Cross, Great Mississippi Flood, river flood, social engagement, media coverage, public opinion

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