Con-FLU-ence: Documenting the WCTU’s Response to the 1918 Pandemic

The 1918 influenza pandemic provides an opportunity for GAPE historians to examine how health and medicine intersected with the Great War, the Progressive Era, and the movements for prohibition and woman suffrage. The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was at the confluence of these streams and offers a case study of an organization whose activities were disrupted and reshaped by the pandemic. The holdings of the WCTU Archives reveal how the national organization mobilized the testimony of health experts and “viral” newspaper reports in 1918 to support its Prohibition ratification campaign and resist attempts by the producers and suppliers of alcohol to push their products as an influenza cure.