The onset of illness for those battling the flu of 1918 was quite sudden. In a matter of mere hours, a person could go from strapping good health to being so enfeebled they could not walk. Victims complained of general weakness and severe aches in their muscles, backs, joints, and heads. Often enduring fevers that could reach 105 degrees, the sick fell prey to wild bouts of delirium. Innocent objects — pieces of furniture, wallpaper, lamps — would adopt wicked manifestations in the minds of those consumed by fever. When the fevers finally broke, many victims fortunate enough to have survived now endured crushing post-influenza depression.
This flu was a great leveler of men; it recognized neither social order nor economic status. It struck with impunity among the rich and famous, as well as the lowly and the meek. Among its more well-known victims: silent screen star Harold Lockwood, swimmer Harry Elionsky, “Admiral Dot,” one of PT Barnum’s first midgets, Irmy Cody Garlow, the daughter of Buffalo Bill Cody, General John Pershing*, Franklin Roosevelt*, actress Mary Pickford*, and President Woodrow Wilson*.
*survived the flu
The story of the polio crusade pays tribute to a time when Americans banded together to conquer a terrible disease.
During World War II, more than a thousand women signed up to fly with the U.S. military as WASPS.
The internationally famous carnival of delights in New York was the birthplace of the hot dog and the roller coaster.
The international race to develop biological weapons during the 20th century.
Equipment failure, human error and bad luck led to the country's worst nuclear accident in 1979.
At the height of segregation, an unlikely alliance between a black medical genius and a white surgeon led to a pioneering medical breakthrough.
It was the deadliest workplace accident in New York City’s history.
The dramatic story of the streamliners is one of remarkable achievements and opportunities lost.