“The Spanish Influenza is Here” Exhibition

“The Spanish Influenza is Here” Exhibition

2018 marked the centennial anniversary of the deadly “Spanish Influenza.” Today we encounter flu season each year, but we often know little about previous epidemics. A new display in the Special Collection Division, “The Spanish Influenza is Here:” Memories of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic in Eastern North Carolina explores the lethal influenza virus strain and its rampage through the eastern counties of North Carolina in the fall of 1918. The exhibition will be on display through May 1, 2019 on the 3rd floor of Joyner Library in the North Carolina Collection and was curated by Laupus Library History Collections Archivist Layne Carpenter.

The exhibit features several letters from the Manuscript Collection. These letters, written in October of 1918 at the height of the epidemic, reveal the thoughts and feelings of those who lived through the epidemic. Several letters were written by Maria Whitehurst of New Bern and she frequently expresses concern for her friends, family, and community at large.

Also on display are several North Carolina Board of Health publications. The Health Bulletin and the biennial reports of the North Carolina Board of Health demonstrate the efforts the Board of Health took to improve public health in North Carolina during and after the epidemic.

A collection of documents and a photograph demonstrate the connection between the influenza epidemic and the establishment of the first hospital in Pitt County.

Visit the North Carolina Collection to view this fascinating exhibition. A bibliography is available with the display and a related digital exhibit can be viewed here. For more information, contact Jennifer Daughtery, NC Collection Librarian at 328-0290 or Layne Carpenter, Laupus Library History Collections Archivist at 744-3181.