Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Sharon Carlson

Second Advisor

Thomas Dietz


The influenza outbreak of 1918-1919 began its widespread destruction in September of 1918. Before the outbreak was over, more than twenty-five percent of the United States population became ill. However, the United States was not alone in this silent war. The influenza outbreak (named the “Spanish Flu” or “La Grippe” at this time) killed approximately fifty million people worldwide and is still considered to be the “world’s worst pandemic” since the onset of written history. The state of Michigan, including Kalamazoo and the campus of Western State Normal School were not immune to this highly contagious virus. From October 1918 to January 1918, the campus of Western State Normal School witnessed a health crisis that ended in cancelled classes, a ban on social events such as football games and dances, and ultimately led to the deaths of eight students. This essay traces how the 1918-1919 influenza virus spread from a small chicken farm in Haskell County, Kansas, to military camps, to Michigan, and eventually to Kalamazoo and the campus of Western State Normal School.


Powerpoint presentation accompanying.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Influenza Thesis KatieJones.pptx (15165 kB)
Powerpoint Presentation

Included in

Other History Commons