Friday, January 19, 2018

Influenza Warnings Today Recall those of 1918

Asahel Bush, Estelle Bush Thayer, Eugenia Thayer, circa 1910
Eugenia died in 1918 from the flu
(Salem Library Historic Photos)
A century ago during the winter and spring of 1918, coverage of the flu was intermittent, but it picked up in mid-September with nearly daily articles about flu overseas, here in major metropolitan areas, particularly in Boston, as well in as military camps. By mid-October, it was a local story. Portland's first cases had been identified and the city of Portland had instituted early closing hours and quarantine regulations on October 10th.

As the exact 100th anniversary approaches later this year, we'll return to this, as it will be interesting to learn more specifically how the epidemic affected Salemites. From its earlier anniversary, we already know McKinley School was temporarily used as a hospital. Though she contracted the flu in Berkeley, a member of the extended Bush family, Eugenia Thayer, died on October 18th and was one of the earliest fatal cases with ties to Salem. Between World War I and the flu, it was an anxious time.

(Here are some additional notes on Portland and on Eugene.)

October 16th, 1918

October 21st, 1918

No comments: