As we embark on 2018, it’s interesting to consider what happened 100 years ago in 1918. For medical historians, the date is significant because it is associated with the influenza pandemic that swept the world and killed over 21 million people. Oddly enough, the influenza pandemic didn’t seem to make a great impact on collective memory and was soon forgotten. Historians have pondered this collective neglect and come up with many reasons why people forgot the flu so quickly. Perhaps, in the pre-vaccine (most of them), pre-penicillin days, death by infectious disease was so much more common that it was more easily conceptualized as “normal.” In reality, coming with the war, I suspect influenza was shelved in terms of memory once the war ended. People moved on.
At any rate, for you reading pleasure today, please find attached a nice article by Carla Morrisey on the 1918 epidemic and the role of Navy Nurse, Josie Mabel Brown, during that time. https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/i/influenza/the-influenza-epidemic-of-1918-by-carla-r-morrisey-rn-bsn.html
I’m sure we will discuss the epidemic at our upcoming conference in March in San Antonio. The conference will focus on military medicine and World War I. (See you there)!
Annette Finley-Croswhite, Ph.D.