Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Pamela Mack

Committee Member

Dr. Rod Andrew

Committee Member

Dr. H. Roger Grant


In 1918, a virulent strain of influenza swept the world, infecting as many as 500 million people and killing at least 50 million, 675,000 of whom were in the United States. Despite the many advances that had been made in science and medicine, even the best medical professionals were helpless against the disease. Lawmakers, too, were limited in what they could do to respond to the emergency, especially as the demands of the First World War remained a priority. Through an examination of the response to the flu in a cross-section of American society– national, state, and local – this thesis contends that a similar pattern emerged at all levels, characterized by the responsible persons attempting to use what knowledge and materials were available to them in order to combat a disease that was at once familiar and foreign.



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