Wednesday, November 14, 2018

BPL Archivist Publishes Article on 1918 Influenza

Issue 130, Fall 2018

Thinking back on the time when the 1918 influenza pandemic struck Alabama, Edna Boone of Houston County remembered her mother cooking soup for sick neighbors. Bertha Moore Merrill of Eufaula remembered all the people who died. “We lost so many,” she told an interviewer half a century later.

The terrible pandemic, which killed thousands in Alabama and tens of millions worldwide, is explored in the latest article by Birmingham Public Library (BPL) archivist Jim Baggett. Titled “’It Came Like a Cyclone’: The 1918 Influenza Pandemic in Alabama,” the article is published in the fall issue of Alabama Heritage magazine. Alabama Heritage is available at BPL locations and other area libraries.

The Red Cross conducts a demonstration of emergency ambulance service
during the flu pandemic. (Library of Congress)

Baggett is the author of more than 50 articles, including two published earlier this year. “Birmingham Bound: The Magic City’s Melting Pot” looks at Birmingham’s immigrant communities and appeared in the spring issue of the Alabama Historical Association Newsletter. And the article “’A Law Abiding People’: Alabama’s 1901 Constitution and the Attempted Lynching of Jim Brown” appeared in the July issue of the scholarly journal The Alabama Review. This article makes a significant contribution to historians’ understanding of early efforts to combat lynching in Alabama.

In addition to his published articles, Jim Baggett has authored or co-authored two books and edited three, including A Woman of the Town: Louise Wooster, Birmingham’s Magdalen.

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