Finding Parallels From the Past

When COVID-19 hit, many thought it was nothing worse than a seasonal flu. But for many communities, this virus has been similar or worse than the Spanish Flu of 1918.

To help shed light on the current pandemic, history and economics student Kallin Glauser, along with faculty from the University of Utah and the Marriott Library, decided to find the similarities between COVID-19 and the Spanish Flu of 1918 in Utah and document the history in a digital exhibit.

During a month-long stint of research, Glauser poured over digitized newspaper articles and photographs from 1918 for information to include in her interactive timeline. The timeline was a special aspect of the exhibit because the work done for the timeline was entirely her own, from doing the research and writing a compelling narrative to creating the timeline itself. Glauser said, “It was an interesting project that I really enjoyed because I got to do some real historical research and investigative work that was unique to my hometown.”

She highlights in the Spanish Flu timeline that during the pandemic, the University of Utah shut down and sent all students home, much like the course of action they took when COVID-19 first became a problem back in March 2020.

Along with the interactive timeline, Glauser also compiled a list of newspaper headlines, both from 1918 and 2020. Glauser said, “I found all these newspaper articles from 1918 and I juxtaposed them with headlines from 2020, specifically from March through June. It’s incredible how, even though it is separated by 100 years, we see similar headlines to today.”

Find this research online at exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/1918-flu-pandemic-in-utah/page/timeline.

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About the Author:

Celine is an Entertainment Arts & Engineering major in her senior year. When she isn’t working or doing schoolwork, she likes to go horseback riding, play video games/board games, and create projects for her portfolio. Find here on LinkedIn here and ArtStation here.

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