Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 77

San Francisco family, before and after the siren A siren has a sound all its own. It fills, pierces, and overwhelms all at once. The sound enters your ears and holds in place beside your brain. Open your mouth and it will enter there, too. Your nose is next. Hear it? A siren cannot be escaped until the sound starts its steady winding-down. Less. Fading. Stopped. Silent. Now … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 39

Mail carrier In New York City, on the 39th day since the outbreak at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, begins October 16, 1918. A mail carrier walks down the street with a mask on his face. An office worker sits at her desk, typing a letter and wearing a mask on her face. Across the city, if the reports are accurate, more than 400 people die today of influenza or a related illness. And the hard … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 26

Telegraph machine, a better Twitter This guy has the perfect name for Day 26, that's for sure. Dr. Benjamin Franklin Royer sits in his office in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The sign on his desk reads: "Pennsylvania State Health Commissioner." During a fast-flowing 26th Day of influenza, Dr. Royer directs his assistant to type a message. In a few minutes the message will be converted into a … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 24

American flag, 1918 500 young men raise their hands and look up into the sky. Their focus is a flagpole standing in the center of the young men. Atop the pole is the 48-star American flag. An Army officer and a Union College official read aloud, in full speaking voice, the words from of a sheet of paper. At this ceremony in Schenectady, New York, the incoming class of Students' Army Training … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 22

The first influenza case arrives at Camp Custer, Battle Creek, Michigan on Day 22 Do you know that thing you're doing? That sacrifice and extra effort? Well, you better get yourself ready to do more. Today, Day 22, September 29, 1918, doing more than expected is how life goes. At Fort Devens, Massachusetts the medical facility was meant for 1200 patients. No longer—6000 sick men were there. … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 17

September 24, 1918 Camp Dix, New Jersey, the shadows of a sunny day Warm and sunny, one of those great fall days. You're in line. One by one, they line up. You're stepping forward, a few feet at a time. You normally train for war but today, you're doing something else. Into the wooden shed you go. They hand you a cup of warm, salted water. They bark at you: go outside, tilt your head back, … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 10

From Boston, 1918 Among the vast reality of Day 10 come these two moments on the same day from nearly the same place in Massachusetts. In Cambridge, Massachusetts a telegraph operator tapped out a message. Seconds later, the transmission sped like a flash to South Dakota where another telegraph operator recorded the signals and wrote a note. Within an hour or so, Mrs. Arthur Neilson of Hot … [Read more...]