1918 Flu Pandemic

Friday, October 18, 2019 - 5:30pm to Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 3:00pm
4130 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, University of Pittsburgh

A Mini-Course for K-12 Educators

Could this happen again? The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most severe pandemic in recent history, so deadly that some countries ran out of coffins. The symptoms were horrible, giving it the name of “black flu.” Although there is no universal consensus regarding where the virus originated, it spread worldwide during 1918-1919. It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide.

Now 100 years later, we will explore in this two-day minicourse the origins of the pandemic; its impact in Europe, Asia, and the Americas; and how the field of global health changed from an emphasis on tropical medicine to international health.

Materials, ACT 48, parking and meals included. 

This mini-course is co-sponsored by the Global Studies Center and the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia, and the European Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh.


Hagerty Ph.D
Department of History, University of Pittsburgh
“WWI and the Flu Pandemic”
Webel Ph.D
Department of History, University of Pittsburgh
“The Flu Pandemic and its Impact on Global Public Health”
Chandra Ph.D
Director of the East Asian Center, Michigan State University
“The Flu Pandemic in Asia”
Sivillo MA
Upper St. Clair High School
"Teaching about the 1918 Flu Pandemic as a Global Phenomenon"



The 1918 Flu Pandemic: Lessons Learned
A Mini-Course for K-12 Educators
October 18-19, 2019
4130 Posvar Hall, University of Pittsburgh


Friday, October 18

5:30 p.m. Registration and Dinner

6:00 p.m. Teacher self-introductions

6:30 p.m. Keynote Presentation: Dr. Bernard Hagerty (Department of History) "From War to Sorrowful Death: Europe and the Great Flu Epidemic, 1918-19" 

7:30 p.m. Q&A with the presenter

8:00 p.m. End of program for tonight

Saturday, October 19

8:30 a.m. Registration and light breakfast

9:00 a.m. Dr. Mari Webel (Department of History) “The Flu Pandemic and its Impact on Global Public Health”

10:00 Q&A with the presenter

10:30 a.m. Dr. Siddharth Chandra (Director of the East Asian Center, Michigan State University) “The Flu Pandemic in Asia”

11:30 a.m. Q&A with the presenter

11:45 a.m. Working Lunch begins

12:00 noon Screening of The American Experience: Influenza 1918

1:15 p.m. Ron Sivillo (NCTA alum, Upper St. Clair High School): Teaching about the 1918 Flu Pandemic as a Global Phenomenon.

3:00 p.m. Closing Remarks


Sponsored by: University of Pittsburgh's Global Studies Center, NCTA, European Studies Center

NCTA Program
Patrick Hughes
(412) 648-7737
Global Studies Center
Veronica Dristas
(412) 648-5085


1918-1919 Influenza Epidemic Resource Guide


The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History John M. Barry New York: Viking, 2004 ISBN: 978-0-14-303649-4

Pandemic 1918: Eyewitness Accounts from the Greatest Medical Holocaust in Modern History Catharine Arnold New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2018 ISBN: 978-1-250-13943-6

1918 Influenza: The Mother of All Pandemics



America’s Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918 Alfred W. Crosby New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003 ISBN: 978-0521541756

Fever of War: The Influenza Epidemic in the U.S. Army During World War I Carol R. Byerly New York: New York University Press, 2005 ISBN: 978-0814799246

The Flu Epidemic of 1918: America’s Experience in the Global Health Crisis Sandra Opdycke New York: Routledge, 2014 ISBN:  978-0415636858


Global Focus/Multi-Region

Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World By Laura Spinney New York: Public Affairs, 2017 ISBN: 978-1610397674

The Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918-19: New Perspectives Howard Phillips and David Killingray New York: Routledge Studies in the Social History of Medicine, 2003 ISBN: 978-0-414-51079-0


Primary Source Documents

The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919: A Brief History with Documents By Susan Kingsley Kent Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013 ISBN: 978-0-312-67708-4

Books for Middle School Students/High School Students

More Deadly than War: The Hidden History of the Spanish Flu and the First World War By Kenneth C. Davis New York: Henry Holt Company, 2018 ISBN: 978-1250145123

Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 By Albert Marrin New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2018 ISBN: 978-1101931462



As Bright as Heaven By Susan Meissner New York, Penguin 2018 ISBN: 978-0-399-58597-5


Articles on Influenza in Asia

1. Influenza in Japan “Pandemic Influenza in Japan, 1918-19: Mortality Patterns and Official Responses.” Geoffrey W. Rice and Edwina Palmer. Journal of Japanese Studies, vol. 19, no. 2, 1993, pp. 389–420. 

2. “Spanish influenza in Japanese armed forces, 1918-1920”  Akihiko Kawana, Go Naka, Yuji Fujikura, Yasuyuki Kato, Yasutaka Mizuno and Tatsuya Kondo.  Emerging Infectious DiseasesVol. 13, Issue 4. 

3. Influenza in Korea “Pandemic Influenza in Korea: With Special Reference to its Etiology.” Frank W. Schofield, D.V.Sc; H. C. Cynn, M.B. Journal of the American Medical Association. April 1919.

4. Influenza in India “Influenza in India: An Epicenter of an Epidemic” Kenneth Hill. Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies 

5. “Mortality from the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919: the Case of India” Siddharth Chandra; Goran Kuljanin, Jennifer Wray Demography, 08/2012, Vol 49, Issue 3 

6. Influenza in China “What Happened in China During the 1918 Influenza Pandemic?” K.F. Cheng, P.C. Leung. International Journal of Infectious Diseases. Vol.11, Issue 4, July 2007. Pgs. 360364.