Spanish Flu Pandemic - Preface

Spanish Flu Pandemic (Illustration) Summer Reading WWI Series World War I Geography Tragedies and Triumphs American History Famous Historical Events Medicine Social Studies Disasters

U.S. Army photograph of the 1918 Spanish influenza ward at Camp Funston, Kansas.  Online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


It was a dreadful business.

Isaac Starr, 3rd year medical student
University of Pennsylvania, 1918

When Edvard Munch, the Norwegian artist, created his famous painting The Scream (in 1893), he had no idea that within twenty-five years half the world’s population would suddenly fall ill. His Death in the Sickroom (1895) and The Dead Mother (1899-1900) were eerily prophetic of terrible times to come.

The prolific artist, whose works are still studied and admired, was among the sick during the pandemic years of 1918-19. The malady was “Spanish Flu” - the deadliest disease in recorded history.

Munch’s Self-Portrait Spanish Influenza (1919) depicts an unwell man, but his Self-Portrait After Spanish Influenza shows the ravages of illness. At least he survived.

More than 50 million others did not.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 4279stories and lessons created

Original Release: Mar 01, 2006

Updated Last Revision: Apr 25, 2015

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Spanish Flu Pandemic" Mar 01, 2006. Nov 28, 2015.
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