September 26, 1918

In 1918, a deadly outbreak of influenza, known as the “Spanish flu”, had made it’s way from army camps in Europe to the United States of America. Fall saw Oklahoma hit especially hard, forcing the closure of schools, churches, and gatherings.

In Oklahoma, state officials reported the first cases of the influenza in Tulsa and Clinton on September 26, 1918, and by Oct. 4, some 1,249 cases had been reported in 24 counties.

St. Louis Red Cross Motor Corps on duty during the Influenza epidemic
The St. Louis Red Cross Motor Corps on duty during the Influenza epidemic, October 1918. Library of Congress.
Medical Department, 1918. Eberts Field, Lonoke, Arkansas. Convalescent Influenza patients, method of isolation due to overflow of hospital; National Archives Catalog.

Read about the Influenza Epidemic of 1918 in the National Archives. View newspaper articles from the McAlester News Capital and Tulsa World, and this essay by Metropolitan Library. Read how the Spanish Flu hit Oklahoma State University. Revisit this 2015 article from The Oklahoma. From Smithsonian Magazine, look at How the Horrific 1918 Flu Spread Across America.

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