Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




In the fall of 1918 an unparalleled influenza pandemic spread throughout the world. More than a quarter of Americans became ill, and at least 600,000 died. For many Virginians, this was a time of acute crisis that only could be compared to the days of the Civil War. This thesis describes Spanish influenza's impact on Virginia, primarily focusing on the cities of Newport News, Richmond, and Roanoke. It details influenza's emergence in Virginia and explores how state and city officials dealt with this unprecedented epidemic. This study examines how the epidemic disrupted daily routines of life and overwhelmed the state's medical community. This thesis briefly discusses the effect that the segregation of races had on the spread of influenza and the role that women played in battling the epidemic. Sources used in this study include newspapers, manuscript collections, and government documents.

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