Influenza in Old Lyme

Paul Thompson (photographer), “To Prevent Influenza!” Illustrated Daily News, New Haven (October 1918)
Paul Thompson (photographer), “To Prevent Influenza!” Illustrated Daily News, New Haven (October 1918)

From the Florence Griswold Museum Archives

An estimated 675,000 people died in the United States when a raging viral illness swept through the country during World War I, spiking again in early 1919 after fighting had ended. In Connecticut, where 8,500 people died, “the epidemic of influenza was a blasting thing, many times more devastating than the war,” the Connecticut Health Bulletin reported. Military bases, crowded with recruits preparing for deployment in Europe, became early breeding grounds for influenza.