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About this collection

The items in this collection are housed in Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections in the Terrell Library.

The 1918 Influenza had a dramatic impact on WSU and Pullman. As part of military build-up for World War I, the WSU campus had swelled with 1,325 Student Army Training Corps (S.A.T.C.) cadets. Of this group, there were some 600 influenza cases and 42 deaths. R. S. Sanborn, the father of a S.A.T.C student who died, accused the WSU of negligence, a charge which was investigated by the Governor and the board of regents. Among the 700 WSU students who were not involved in the S.A.T.C., there were 75 cases and no deaths. In 1918, Pullman had a population of some 3,000 of whom 150 caught the influenza and three died. In addition to the campus hospital, the Gymnasium, Wilson Hall, Ferry Hall, and the Mechanical Arts Building, served as temporary hospitals. Three churches (Christian Church, St. James, and the Federated Church) also served as hospitals. Miss Agnes H. Craig, head of the College of Home Economics, along with the entire home economics faculty, aided by sixty-two women students, prepared special diets for the ill students. When the epidemic was at its worst, they prepared over 900 meals per day, and by the end of it all they had served over 17,000 meals.

The following time line provides a chronological overview of epidemic. The documents selected for this project come from the Papers of President Holland and the WSU University Publications Collection.


May 25: Exhibit A Contract of Services between W.S.C. and the War Department
October 1: First cases of the flu at the College are reported among the Student Army Training Corps (SATC). The College Gymnasium is immediately turned into a hospital.
October 2 - November 9: Weather record during epidemic of influenza 1918
October 11: Colonel W. T. May, Commanding Officer of the SATC at WSC, requests the use of Van Doren Hall as a hospital.
October 20: Letter to President E. O. Holland from Commanding Officer of the S.A.T.C. suspending classes.
October 24: Letter to Commanding Officer S.A.T.C. Colonel W. T. May from President E. O. Holland regarding the use of Ferry Hall as a hospital.
October 21: Roger P. Sanborn, a SATC student at WSC, writes to his father, Professor Roger S. Sanborn, to say that he had come down with the flu.
October 23: Lynne A. Fullerton, the State Epidemiologist, writes to Holland, ordering "a complete quarantine" of the College.
October 26: Sanborn receives a second letter from his son, saying that he had (been) moved to a convalescent ward (Ferry Hall).
October 27: Sanborn comes to Pullman to look for his son.
October 30: "No Woolen Uniforms for S.A.T.C." (The Miner from Roslyn WA)
November 1: Sanborn's son dies at the Northwest Sanitarium.
November 2: Captain Collins, the Head Medical Officer for the SATC gives Holland this report: 5 days ago 98 hospital cases, today 634.
November 4: Dean Nelson and Lieutenant Baird are appointed to inspect the mess halls and barracks everyday.
November 5: Edwin T. Coman, President of the College Board of Regents, comes to Pullman to investigate the flu epidemic.
November 7: The Pullman Tribune reports that "an iodine solution" is being administered to the ill, and that this new treatment is saving lives.
November 8: "Influenza is on the way at State College" (The Spokane Chronicle).
November 9: An automobile from the SATC hospital force crashes into the College Greenhouse.
November 10: Sanborn charges the College with misconduct in its handling of the epidemic (The Spokane Review).
November 11: Holland and May reply to Sanborn's charges.
November 12: Private Ward Rinehart, former roommate of Sanborn's son, replies to Sanborn.
  Mrs. A. P. Johnson, a worker for the Red Cross, writes in support of Sanborn's charges.
November 14: Sanborn replies to Holland, May, and Rinehart.
November 17: Influenza More Fatal Than War. San Francisco discontinues the use of gauze masks, as the flu epidemic has there passed.
November 18: Classes resume at the College. Letter from Mrs. Munks thanking President Holland for his letter of sympathy after the death of her son, Chester A Munks.
November 19: Governor Ernest Lister comes to the College to investigate the charges.
November 24: "W.S.C. Heads Cleared of Accusations" (The Onion from Walla Walla)
January 16: Sanborn gives a sworn statement detailing his criticisms of the College's care of its students during the flu epidemic.
February 5: Holland gives a sworn statement in response to Sanborn's charges.

Questions to Consider:

Which of Sanborn's charges is the most serious?

What is Holland's best defense against the charges?

Was Washington State College prepared for this epidemic?

Creating the Database:

Under the direction of Trevor James Bond, Nathan Roberts scanned documents and images on an OpticBook 3600 Plus scanner and an Epson Expression 10000 XL scanner as 600dpi TIFF files. Nathan Roberts imported the images into CONTENTdm. Research for the collection was completed by Nathan Nicol and Nathan Roberts utilizing the primary sources and William Landeen's (1958) E. O. Holland and the State College of Washington, 1916-1944. Nathan Nicol and Nathan Roberts drafted the time line and Trevor James Bond worked on the website, with graphics created by Jeff Kuure. Alex Merrill provided technical support for CONTENTdm.

Viewing the Database:

Clicking on "Browse This Collection" will allow you to view the entire collection, arranged alphabetically by title.  Entering search terms in the "Search" box will search across all of the database fields. Results are displayed as a series of thumbnail images that may be browsed both forward and backward. To view the larger image and its corresponding data, click on the thumbnail or its title.

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