Recently published: “A 1918 influenza outbreak at Haskell Institute: an early narrative of the Great Pandemic”

My local history of the 1918-20 Great Pandemic (Spanish Influenza) led to a critical examination of competing theories as to the “origin, spread and character” of the virus. One account traced its genesis to Haskell County, Kansas. There I saw a false narrative in need of debunking. An untold rival narrative fairly begged to be brought into the light.

Telegram of March 21, 1918 from Haskell Institute superintendent H. B. Peairs requesting the assistance of the Indian Bureau to combat “a very serious epidemic of grippe.” (National Archives, Washington, D.C.) The telegram virtually initiates the literature of the Great Pandemic in North America.

Two years’ work resulted in a 15,000 word scholarly article, “A 1918 influenza outbreak at Haskell Institute: an early narrative of the Great Pandemic,” that was published in Kansas History, a Journal of the Central Plains, Vol. 43, No. 2, Summer 2020.

A number of panoramic photos of the Haskell Institute student body are readily accessible on the Library of Congress website. The image above was taken on May 11, 1908. A 600-mb TIFF file yields remarkable detail, as below.