10/12/1918: Newspaper illustration, "Cough's and Sneezes Spread Diseases," October 1918.

10/10/1918: Telegram. Advisory from the State Healrh Officer.

On October 10, 1918, Dr. Hayes, a member of the Eau Claire Board of Health, received a telegram from the State Health Officer. For Dr. Hayes, and other members of the Board of Health, the telegram's message certainly reinforced something they knew to be inevitable. A dangerous influenza was spreading quickly across the country and would soon arrive in Eau Claire. The telegram outlined “an advisory order to all the health officers, local health board, and city councils to immediately close all schools, churches, Sunday schools, theatres, moving picture houses, other places of amusement, and public gatherings for an indefinite period to time.” Meeting that day, the Eau Claire Board of Health took action to follow these recommendations.

The records of the Eau Claire Board of Health, alongside other archival and manuscript materials from this time, detail the impact of the 1918 influenza pandemic on the Chippewa Valley. The Chippewa Valley 1918 Influenza Project shares this story. This project site provides access to a collection of digitized archival materials from local newspapers, the Chippewa Valley Museum, and the Special Collections and Archives Department at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Additionally, the site provides tools for educators to bring these primary sources into their classrooms and shares other digital exhibits that expand upon this story in other places around the United States. Use the menu options to navigate this site and immerse yourself in this fascinating story.

This project was made possible thanks to a Summer Research Experience for Undergraduate Students Grant from the UW-Eau Claire Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. Additional support is provided by a Humanities Connections grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities focusing on the Health Humanities program at UW-Eau Claire.