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 remarkable story of how a railroad was built connecting California to the East.
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"The Wizard of Menlo Park," Inventor Thomas Edison, built the first practical light bulb and revolutionized the world.
Postwar New York City and the global economic order told through the story of the World Trade Center.
During the Great Depression, Americans built the Hoover Dam, one of the greatest engineering works in history.
Politics, culture, race relations, and technology in a year of change.