Whitney Hale

By

College: Libraries

Sesquicentennial Series: 1918 Influenza Epidemic Sweeps UK

Published: Aug 28, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 28, 2012) In celebration of the University of Kentucky's upcoming sesquicentennial in 2015, the 20th of 150 weekly installments on the university remembers the tragedy of the 1918 influenza epidemic.    

 

As UK students returned to classes in the fall of 1918, the "Great War" (World War I) was winding down and the world was looking forward to the possibility of peace. Focused on larger issues, Americans were generally unconcerned about reports of Spanish flu outbreaks in military camps earlier that year, but by September the increase in cases brought it to the forefront of the country’s attention. As military men moved across the country, going to or returning from war, they carried the disease with them. October saw the most deaths from influenza at more than 200,000 in the U.S. alone.

 

Although Louisville, Ky., had reported thousands of cases, Lexington thought itself spared until the first week of October. At this time, troops were quartered at Camp Buell on the UK campus and the flu swept through the barracks (located along Rose Street).

 

Classes at UK were interrupted from Oct. 11 until Nov. 3 and many soldiers were granted furlough in an attempt to cut down on the number of cases. Some students contracted the flu even after the ban was lifted, such as Margaret Settle, who reported that she "took the flu" over Thanksgiving break and "didn’t get back to school until Jan. 4, 1919."

 

During the epidemic, the Gymnasium (located in Buell Armory) was converted into a hospital staffed by Red Cross nurses.

 

Four hundred three cases of influenza were reported on UK’s campus, resulting in eight deaths, while the number of cases reported in Fayette County was in the thousands, with more than 51 deaths. The 1918 influenza epidemic killed more people than died in World War I, an estimated 20-50 million in all, understandably dulling the celebration of the Armistice on Nov. 11, 1918.

 

This story on UK's history is presented by UK Special Collections. Special Collections is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press and the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center. The mission of Special Collections is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-8716 or whitney.hale@uky.edu

nurses_and_medical_officers_at_makeshift_gymnasium_hospital_louis_edward_nollau_photographic_print_collection_university_archives.pngnavy_sailors_leaving_for_furlough_during_flu_epidemic_louis_edward_nollau_f_series_photographic_print_collection_university_archives.pngconvalescents_playing_cards_at_gymnasium_hospital_louis_edward_nollau_f_series_photographic_print_collection_university_archives.png
September
 
 
 
 
1
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
LGBTQ* and Friends Employee Picnic
Thu
2
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Fri
3
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Sat
4
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Sun
5
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Labor Day - Academic Holiday
Mon
6
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
Tue
7
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
UK Women's Club Volleyball - Open Gym
From The Streets to The Stage With Monti Washington
Wed
8
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
#IAMACCEPTANCE Let's Talk Mental Health with Hakeem Rahim
Thu
9
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
2016 New Chinese Students Welcome Party
Accounting Internship & Career Fair
Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Training
Fri
10
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sat
11
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Whipping In The Kitchen
Sun
12
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Mon
13
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
UKWC Welcome Coffee
Tue
14
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
Greek Park Pictures
Wed
15
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
Thu
16
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
A Day of Rising Strong
Fri
17
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sat
18
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sun
19
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Mon
20
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
UK Women's Forum Board Meeting
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn - Best Friends Approach to Dementia Care
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
Cuban Heritage Festival
Tue
21
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Last Day to Withdraw to Receive 50% Refund
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
Horticulture Club Farm Market Sale
Wed
22
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
TGIT with SAB
Thu
23
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Fri
24
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sat
25
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Film Screening of "The Fly Room"
Sun
26
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Film Screening of "The Fly Room"
Let's Talk!
Empower: People of Color Support Group
Film Screening of "The Fly Room"
Mon
27
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
FIFA Tournament
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
UK Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair
Banned Books--A short history
Tue
28
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
FIFA Tournament
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
Horticulture Club Farm Market Sale
Cats Got The Vote
Business Internship & Career Fair
Women In Technology Gala event for UK undergraduate women
Wed
29
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
FIFA Tournament
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
Yoga at Commonwealth Stadium
Thu
30
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Indonesia Focus Conference
Indonesia Focus Conference
Craft Writing: Beer, the Digital, and Craft Culture
Fri
 
Sep 25
Film Screening of "The Fly Room" 09/25/2016 - 09/26/2016

Sun, 09/25/2016 - Mon, 09/26/2016

Repeats every 7 days until Tue Dec 20 2016 .
Mon, 09/26/2016

Repeats every week until Mon Dec 05 2016 .
Mon, 09/26/2016

Mon, 09/26/2016

Repeats every 7 days until Tue Dec 13 2016 .
Tue, 09/27/2016

Reset Page