Measles, War, Flu, and a Snowstorm too. 1918 at Sam Houston Normal Institute

We have received a few inquires here in the SHSU University Archives asking what the University was doing in 1918 when the worse flu pandemic recorded in the United States was happening.

1918 was a turbulent year around the world with World War I in full swing. Here at the Sam Houston Normal Institute 1918 brought a measles epidemic, WWI, flu and an unexpected snowstorm.

A quick read through The Houstonian newspaper for January 15, 1918, tells us that the campus was more concerned about an outbreak of measles. (See image) In the 1918, The Alcalde yearbook a calendar of the events that happened in Fall 1917-Spring 1918, this entry from January 6, 1918 reads, “Measles epidemic holds sway in Normal. Even the teachers have it.” the measles hit so many of the students, Lillian Sandel organized a, “That Measles-ly Club,” on February 1, 1918.

The first mention of the flu on campus comes in an article from The Houstonian for November 11, 1918.(See image) The article mentions that there was talk that President Estill was going to suspend the school until the flu subsided. This lead to a stampede of female students asking to go home. As 1919 rolled around the campus and Huntsville experienced more cases of the flu. With no infirmary on the campus, the school and the good people of Huntsville had to deal with the pandemic on their own. All of Huntsville came together and did not lose one of their flu patients.¬† Note the last three paragraphs of the, “Flu Flew Fluently,” page.

The unexpected snow storm began on January 11, 1918 and snowed through the night. Many students cut classes the next day to play snow balling, fighting and sleighing. It snowed yet again on January 28.

 

Veterans Appreciation Week

wwi-broadside219</

This art supplement from The Galveston Daily News, September 29, 1918 is a newspaper edition of an original poster by Joseph Pennell Del. called, “That Liberty Shall Not Perish from the Earth – Buy Liberty Bonds, Fourth Liberty Loan.” The image on the poster shows the Statue of Liberty in ruins, and the New York City skyline burning.

The image and words were meant to invoke patriotism so that Americans would buy $6 billion in Fourth Liberty Loan bonds. These bonds would pay for supplies for the soldiers that were still fighting in Europe. In less than two months on November 11, 1918, the Armistice would be signed and the War to End All Wars would be over.

Sam Houston Normal Institute sent many students to become soldiers and fight in WWI. When the fighting was over and the students came back the tradition of observing Armistice Day was begun. In 1954 Armistice Day was renamed to Veterans Day. This Veterans Day celebration is still observed today.

To see the original poster and learn more about posters from WWI that are held by the Library of Congress, click here: https://www.loc.gov/item/2002712077/

To see more about Sam Houston State University’s history of honoring the Armed Forces come visit the Special Collection, Thomason Room (named for John W. Thomason, artist, Marine, SHNI graduate) and the University Archives.