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EpidemicsHate and Compassion from the Plague of Athens to AIDS$
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Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198819660

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198819660.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 October 2019

The Great Influenza

The Great Influenza

A Pandemic of Compassion

Chapter:
(p.446) 21 The Great Influenza
Source:
Epidemics
Author(s):

Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198819660.003.0022

Concentrating on America, this chapter explores the immense outpouring of volunteerism, compassion, and self-sacrifice wrought by the Great Influenza as seen in the response of traditional charitable institutions such as churches and men’s groups. Women, however, constituted by far the most significant charitable force, distinguishing this pandemic from all previous ones. From the Vanderbilts and McAdoos to black nurses, women crossed barriers into the most impoverished, hardest-hit neighbourhoods as ambulance drivers and orderlies, workers in diet kitchens, and carers for the ill and their families. They swept floors, fed the impoverished, took in orphans, and nursed the dangerously ill. In all these endeavours, they were the organizers as well as the workers. These crossings of class, ethnic, and racial divides, moreover, occurred within a general context of heightening racism, economic strife, jingoistic nationalism, and anti-immigrant hatred.

Keywords:   influenza, pandemic, United States, abnegation, women, ambulance drivers, photojournalism, schoolteachers, nursing, Klu Klux Klan

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