Philadelphia Influenza: a child's perspective

"We were young people. In 1918 there were a lot of young people. They died off like flies"- Anna Lavin

    

Influenza Team

ABOUT

Why the Flu?

Tasked with creating a digital storytelling project as part of our Immigration and Digital Storytelling class, we chose a topic discussed in multiple interviews from early 20th century immigrants to Philadelphia.  After listening to these immigrants tell their stories, one event came across as having a major impact in their lives: the Influenza Pandemic of 1918.  We chose the Influenza as our topic for this project to tell these immigrants experience with it, their perspectives, and how it impacted their daily and family lives.

WCU HIS 480/HON 451 Immigration and Digital Storytelling

"Bodies! On Thompson and Allegheny , Schveda. He used to get the people and take them out and pile them in the garage. People smelled something and they notified them. Here, he would take the people out of the coffin and put them in the garage and give the coffin to somebody else and got paid for it. He lost his license and all. The smell would knock you right down through the alley, so they caught up with him. Oh, they used to die. It was an awful disease."
Elizabeth Strupczewski

Elizabeth Strupczewski

"My mother went and shaved the men and laid them out, thinking that they were going to be buried, you know. They wouldn't bury them. They had so many died that they kept putting them in garages, that garage on Veteran Street. Oh, my gosh! He had a couple garages full of caskets."
Anna Lavin

Anna Lavin

"It was awful. In 1918. It was awful. It was so bad. I remember looking out of the windows. I saw they were just putting coffins right on top of one another. And they were taking them out that way. It was really terrible."
Mildred Kleeman

Mildred Kleeman