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Contagion: 1918

Contagion: 1918

November 1918. "Her sister had not seen Mrs. Brown for almost a week, and with Mr. Brown a soldier in France, she became so worried she telephoned the Red Cross Home Service, which arrived just in time to rescue Mrs. Brown from the clutches of influenza." American National Red Cross glass negative. View full size.


True flu?

This seems staged to me but very indicative of what circumstances were like for the Red Cross Service.

[The photo was made to illustrate activities of the Red Cross; the lady does not have the flu. - Dave]

Hope she survived

In 1918, according to, 675,000 people died in America from the Spanish Flu. 116,000 Americans died of all causes in World War 1, including the flu. Millions died around the world. While perhaps staged, this photo sure offers a powerful reminder of the power of a pandemic.

Tilted teacup

So many features of this room speak to the illness of the mother, not the least of which, of course, is the sorry appearance of Mrs. Brown herself. But more than the child rubbing her eyes, or the tissues on the floor, or the cloth askew on top of the chest of drawers, it is the teacup on its side that lets me know, more poignantly than anything else, that all is not well in this room.

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