1918 Flu Epidemic in Missouri, Part One

The flu epidemic of 1918 ravaged populations around the globe. It is estimated that the flu contributed to the deaths of more than 50 million people worldwide by the end of 1920. In this two-part series, SHSMO senior archivist Kathleen Seale talks about how different communities in Missouri experienced and responded to the 1918 flu epidemic. 

Using primary and secondary sources, part one discusses how the epidemic affected Missouri and its people. In part two, Seale discusses how organizations, schools, and government entities reacted.

Resources for Further Research

  • Digital Newspaper Collection, The State Historical Society of Missouri.
  • Humphrey, Margaret, “The Influenza of 1918: Evolutionary Perspectives in a Historical Context." Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, 2018; 2018(1): 219–229. Full Text Online.
  • Jones, Marian Moser, “The American Red Cross and Local Response to the 1918 Influenza Pandemic: A Four-City Case Study.” Public Health Report, 2010; 125(Suppl 3): 92–104. Full Text Online.
  • McKinsey, David, “Part I: The 1918 Influenza in Missouri: Centennial Remembrance of the Crisis.” Missouri Medicine, 2018 May-Jun; 115(3): 183–188. Full Text Online.
  • McKinsey, David, The 1918 Influenza in Missouri: Centennial Remembrance of the Crisis.” Missouri Medicine, 2018 Jul-Aug; 115(4): 319–324. Full Text Online.
  • McShane, Kevin C., “The 1918 Kansas City Influenza Epidemic,” Missouri Historical Review 63, no. 1 (October 1968): 55-70. Full Text Online.
  • Opie, Eugene L., et al. Epidemic Respiratory Disease: The Pneumonias and Other Infections of the Respiratory Tract Accompany Influenza and Measles St. Louis: C.V. Mosby Company, 1921. Full Book Online.
  • “The Flu Pandemic of 1918,” U.S. National Archives, May 2020. https://www.archives.gov/news/topics/flu-pandemic-1918
  • “The Great Influenza” — Library Resources on the 1918 to 1919 Pandemic, Library of Congress, April 2020. https://blogs.loc.gov/loc/2020/04/the-great-influenza-library-resources-on-the-1918-to-1919-pandemic/
  • Wilson, Robert, “St. Louis and the 1918 Influenza: The Impact of Nonpharmaceutical Interventions,” Missouri Historical Review 105, no. 2 (January 2011): 94-108. Full Text Online.
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