Produced by the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library

Influenza Encyclopedia

The American Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919:

A Digital Encyclopedia

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

50 U.S. Cities & Their Stories

On Sunday, September 15, 1918, Lieutenant Vernon Stacy, on leave from the Great Lakes Naval Training Station near East Chicago, Ill., called at the home of friend William Westphal on Milwaukee’s Second Avenue to visit his friend who was feeling unwell. Later that day, Lieutenant Stacy began feeling ill himself and was subsequently admitted to Milwaukee’s Emergency Hospital with symptoms of influenza. Westphal, despite his sickness, then traveled to nearby Racine, Wisconsin, where he died of pneumonia a day later. The Milwaukee area influenza epidemic had begun.1

Unfortunately, as in nearly every state and community across the United States, influenza was not yet a mandatory reportable disease. As a result, Milwaukee Health Commissioner George C. Ruhland had no way of knowing how widespread the disease in his city may have been. Not taking any chances, Ruhland cautioned people to take the threat of an impending influenza epidemic seriously and assigned his second-in-command, John P. Koehler, M.D., to attend to Stacy and a second out-of-town influenza case at Emergency Hospital.2

Across the state line, three Chicago-area naval and military camps were in varying stages of their own fights with influenza. Understanding the danger they posed to Milwaukee, Health Commissioner George C. Ruhland asked military officials to keep the men clear of his city until their influenza epidemics abated.3 Over the next two weeks, the succession of self-imposed emergency quarantines at these installations had the effect of dramatically reducing the number of young men in uniform seen around Milwaukee.4

For the time being, it seemed as if influenza was off to a slow start. Suspecting that the disease might be more widely circulating in Milwaukee, however, Ruhland performed a quick telegram canvas of Milwaukee’s physicians. In response, they reported 100 cases of influenza and/or colds, a small amount for that time of year. Nevertheless, Ruhland asked physicians to promptly report all cases of influenza to the Health Department.5,6

Most physicians in the city shared Health Commissioner Ruhland’s thinking and took the infection’s threat seriously. Consequently, many honored his request for voluntary reporting. On September 26, they reported six cases of influenza to the Health Department, for an estimated total of 110 current cases. Four days later, the report was far worse when nearly 100 new cases were recorded at the Health Department in a 24-hour span. Immediately, Ruhland called a meeting with prominent Milwaukee physicians to engage their cooperation in safeguarding the public in the inevitable battle against influenza.

As a result of this meeting with the medical community, Health Commissioner Ruhland instructed the Health Department to order educational posters and flyers, and rapidly made them available to area businesses.7,8 These materials set into motion an immense public education campaign, with printed literature in various languages, including English, German, Russian, Lithuanian, Yiddish, and Italian.9 The influenza education campaign was both impressive and comprehensive because it identified speakers, speaker materials, clergy to discuss the flyers from the pulpit, physicians willing to serve as public speakers, and lantern slides for motion picture houses. Thanks to the cooperation of many in the community, all these elements came together rapidly.

Health Commissioner Ruhland also met with the city’s newspaper editors to enlist their support. All agreed that rousing the public to action without causing undue panic was the best way to support Health Department goals.10 In fact, Ruhland made a point in the succeeding months to meet with key stakeholders in the medical, business, and social services sectors to enlist their support for emergency measures to combat influenza.11

In keeping with his longstanding commitment to community involvement, Health Commissioner Ruhland appointed an emergency advisory committee consisting of Otto Falk, president of Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company, Dr. Hoyt E. Dearholt, Head of the Wisconsin Anti-Tuberculosis Association, Dr. Louis F. Jermain, Dean of Marquette University’s medical school, and Carl Herzfeld, president of the Boston Store, a large downtown retail establishment.12 Others were added or subtracted in succeeding months depending on the issues at hand.

On October 7, the Health Department recorded 214 new cases for the previous 24 hours, and this galvanized Health Commissioner Ruhland to enlarge his epidemic strategy. He immediately met with the County Council of Defense’ health committee and together they agreed it was time to establish multiple isolation hospitals. In doing so, they acknowledged that current hospital resources were insufficient. County government also got involved and agreed to pay fifty-percent of emergency hospital costs up to $15,000. There was one proviso: earmark the funds for the city’s poor. Milwaukee’s Common Council also came through with a unanimous appropriation for $15,000.

These monies worked wonders, and 30 hours after Health Commissioner Ruhland’s meeting with the County Council, the Milwaukee Citizen’s Bureau of Municipal Efficiency succeeded in transforming the vacant Nunnemacher residence into a fully equipped emergency hospital for 50 patients.13,14

From the beginning, Health Commissioner Ruhland planned to have several emergency hospitals at the ready, so these were prepared shortly after the Nunnemacher residence was fully outfitted for influenza cases. The two additional emergency hospitals, one for men and one for women, were set up in Milwaukee’s massive new civics center, the Milwaukee Auditorium. Rapid action by the Citizen’s Bureau of Municipal Efficiency readied its Juneau and Engelmann Halls to house 100 patients each.15 As they filled, the Nunnemacher residence was converted to an emergency hospital for children.

Securing adequate medical staffing was as important as securing facilities, so the Health Department shifted its own nurses to the three emergency hospitals, supplemented by Red Cross volunteers.16 At the same time, the Department wanted routine child welfare, tuberculosis, and school programs to remain intact. And this did happen, thanks to the Wisconsin Anti-Tuberculosis Association, whose staff and public education graduates backfilled in these three areas.

At the end of the first week in October, there were just under 1,000 active cases in Milwaukee and people began to wonder about mandatory closures. Though some groups voluntarily cancelled meetings and events, Health Commissioner Ruhland’s advisors decided on October 9 not to make such closures mandatory.

The State believed otherwise, as Milwaukee found out the next day when Wisconsin’s State Health Officer Dr. Cornelius A. Harper issued an advisory order for all parts of the state. It suggested – but did not mandate – closure for schools, churches, places of amusement and all other places of public gathering. Although Health Officer Harper’s directive wasn’t binding because the State Board of Health didn’t have the power to mandate these closings, Wisconsin’s public health officers knew the ‘advisory’ was expected to be carried out everywhere. Unfortunately, there was a snag in Milwaukee because its Health Department wasn’t officially notified in an immediate fashion. As a result, the press published the advisory before Health Commissioner Ruhland and his advisory board had a plan to implement its suggestions.17

Scrambling, Health Commissioner Ruhland asked for and received authority from the Common Council to act summarily. 18 He quickly pulled together his advisors and together they agreed to close all places of amusement, churches, meetings, and places where the public gathered, and to ban public funerals. They also ordered disinfection and better ventilation in common carriers, but agreed to delay enforcement of all orders for 24 hours. This permitted affected groups time to implement their closures or restrictions in an orderly fashion. There were a number of exceptions to these closures: courts, restaurants, hotel dining rooms, saloons, and retail stores stayed open.19 Since he was still without an actual state document for reference, the Ruhland also added schools to the list of exceptions.20

Saturday, October 12, dawned with a grim tally of the disease’s toll: 3,084 cases since September 1, and 67 deaths. This clearly called for a new look at the school situation, so Health Commissioner Ruhland gathered his advisors and various school board members from Milwaukee’s public and private school systems. In spite of the short notice, the group closed schools effective Monday morning, leaving school officials scrambling to notify 4,000 public and 61,000 parochial school children and their 1,700 teachers.

The closures freed up public and parochial school doctors and nurses, and these were deployed to the three emergency hospitals and in making home visits. 21 Teachers were also freed up, and 300 responded to Health Commissioner Ruhland’s request for teachers to conduct a door-to-door canvass to help locate unreported sick Milwaukeeans.

Even with these shifts in school medical personnel, there still weren’t enough physicians and nurses at the three emergency hospitals. Thankfully, the epidemic was on the wane at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station, and its quarantine lifted.22 Captain W. A. Moffett, the station’s commandant, generously sent nurses, aides, and orderlies to Milwaukee and other nearby Wisconsin and Illinois communities as their situations worsened.

Back in Milwaukee, saloons presented a dilemma. All of them were open, even the ones without food service. The problem was, of course, that people lingered at the bar or collected for long periods at the tables. Health Commissioner Ruhland’s solution: dining as usual, but for patrons stopping by for liquid refreshment: drink quickly and leave.23 More than one clergyman wondered why saloons were open and churches closed, and some petitioned the Health Department unsuccessfully to resume religious services.24

Overcrowding in streetcars was another problem that defied correction, so in mid-October, the Health Commissioner requested stores and factories to stagger their hours. To make sure retailers understood the importance of the request, the advisory board met with retailers, who agreed to close stores every Saturday night at 5 p.m. for the duration of the epidemic.25,26

By October 18, the daily tally of new cases dipped below 300 for the first time in a week. Nonetheless, patients crowded into the three emergency hospitals, creating a need for more health workers, so the Health Department invited the Red Cross to set up a central registration bureau for nurses. They did this gladly and as a result, the distribution of nurses to institutions, hospitals, and private homes became more effective.27

The number of new cases continued to decline and by the third week in October, people including Milwaukee’s theater owners believed the influenza was almost over. Accordingly, they organized and sent a number of pleas to Health Commissioner Ruhland to lift the bans on public gatherings, but to no effect. As more businesses clamored for relief, Ruhland pointed out the consequence of overconfidence in other cities, where lifting bans prematurely resulted in a resurgence of the infectious disease.28

By the end of October, when the Health Department was confident influenza was in a significant decline, though still present, it announced plans to transfer patients from the two Auditorium hospitals to the Nunnamacher residence, and henceforth operate just the one emergency hospital. There were fewer than 500 active cases registered with the Health Department when Health Commissioner Ruhland and his advisors set Sunday, November 3 as the last day for citywide bans, with two exceptions: his orders against overcrowding in saloons and street cars remained in force.29

Throughout November, influenza maintained such a tenacious grip on Milwaukee that Health Commissioner Ruhland continued to meet with his advisory board, gradually opening the meetings to include physicians, hospital administrators, businessmen, and Red Cross and other relief agency leaders. Together, they readied another plan to eliminate influenza in Milwaukee.30 The first step occurred the day after Thanksgiving, when the Health Department reopened the Nunnemacher residence and made arrangements for other area hospitals to transfer their influenza patients. The Common Council appropriated $5,000 immediately for the Health Department, and another $25,000 in contingency funding, and Milwaukee’s health delivery system geared up for another bout with influenza.

Much of what Milwaukee did to suppress influenza in December paralleled October’s steps. However, there were some differences. For example, although the Nunnemacher residence stayed open to treat children, the Health Department reversed itself and arranged for the city’s hospitals to care for adults. Presumably this change represented an opportunity for improvement over the emergency hospital method of care delivery. Health Commissioner Ruhland also organized nurses to provide home care, and recommended that people wear gauze masks.31,32

Other departures from the October plan were characterized by a shift in responsibility to members of the public and in this way, to avoid outright bans on public gatherings, churches, and places of amusement. And for the first time, Health Commissioner Ruhland turned to placarding. Only the state had the power to order placarding, so Ruhland conferred with State Health Officer Cornelius A. Harper on the best way to introduce placarding in Milwaukee. In keeping with Ruhland’s philosophy to enlist cooperation whenever possible, the pair chose a voluntary approach, but added the full weight of the state for good measure. Thus, the letter sent to Milwaukee’s physicians requesting they placard homes of influenza patients was signed by Harper, rather than Ruhland.33,34

For this second bout with influenza, Health Commissioner Ruhland ordered schools closed, along with several specific public buildings and all municipal gathering places, but everything else was open: saloons, theaters, churches, and all public gatherings. However, Ruhland mandated severe, detailed restrictions governing the amount of personal space surrounding people in public. For example, every other row was vacant in theaters and churches, and retail customers surrounded themselves with six square feet of vacant space. Milwaukee used several different types of streetcars, and each was assigned a maximum number of riders per car. As an extra measure to ensure success, more cars were pressed into service. Ruhland banned children under 15 from theaters, churches or other public gatherings, nor were they allowed on streetcars after 7 p.m.35

These changes in Milwaukee’s campaign against influenza made little difference – the December epidemic was as severe as its October counterpart. The daily tally of new cases exceeded 450 on the same day schools closed, and for much of December, two and three thousand people at a time were bedridden with influenza or pneumonia, according to the Health Department.

Often, editions of Milwaukee’s major papers reported complaints of non-compliance, but Health Commissioner Ruhland’s commitment to communication paid off once again: because he met almost daily with representatives from offending theaters and churches and pressed for compliance, Ruhland never felt compelled to exercise his power to order a total closure.

Resources were stretched seemingly to the limit, so the City introduced a number of new approaches to care for the sick. When invalids outside the hospitals needed care, social service agencies addressed their needs. When busy druggists cut short their customers’ health questions, Deputy Health Commissioner John P. Koehler placed doctors in some of the pharmacies to provide self-care information.36 When invalids needed nourishment, the Defense Council opened a kitchen and provided soups, gelatins, and custards to influenza patients. The Red Cross provided home delivery services for these foods, which were prepared at cost for those able to pay, and free to anyone in need.37

The pressures to deliver services continued to mount. Fortunately, just as hospitals ran out of room in mid-December, the number of new cases began a downward decline. In spite of this decline, the city still needed more funds to care for the needy, so Health Commissioner Ruhland turned again to the Common Council. This time, there was some dissent in chambers, but Ruhland still got the funding he wanted.38 Finally, just in time for Christmas, the number of new cases reported in one day slipped below 100, prompting Ruhland to lift restrictions for everyone, with one exception: couples on the dance floor continued to wear face masks into the new year.39


Even with two influenza episodes between October and December 1918, the magnitude of Milwaukee’s brush with the epidemic was less severe than most other large U.S. cities. The excess death rate in this city of 457,147 was 292 per 100,000 people. By comparison, Chicago experienced an excess death rate of 373 per 100,000.40

Health Commissioner George C. Ruhland believed there were three reasons Milwaukee had better outcomes than many other large cities: 1) readiness of the public to comply with regulatory measures “for which they had been prepared by reports of what happened in other cities”; 2) early closing orders and wide publicity; and 3) the splendid cooperation which the Health Department had from the Common Council and various community groups.41

Further, he understood that closures don’t prevent influenza: they help to flatten the peak incidences of the infection, resulting in less crisis in allocating health workers and supplies. He stated that “it must be recognized that the closure order could do no more than stagger the peak in the incidence of the infection. By avoiding the simultaneous development of large numbers of cases, for which neither an adequate number of physicians nor hospital facilities were available, the spread of the disease itself undoubtedly was checked as well as the number of deaths lessened.”42


1Milwaukee Journal, “Reported dead of influenza,” 17 Sept. 1918, 1.

2“How Milwaukee Organized Its Fight against the ‘Flu,’” Wisconsin Medical Journal 17 6:250-52.

3“Spanish influenza may stop ‘Shore leave’,” Milwaukee Journal, 18 Sept. 1918, 1.

4“No jacks here; it’s the ‘flu’,” Milwaukee Journal, 22 Sept. 1918, 1.

5“No epidemic of pneumonia,” Milwaukee Journal, 20 Sept. 1918, 1.

6Milwaukee Wisc., State Medical Society of Wisconsin. Wisconsin medical journal. XVII, no. 6 (November, 1918) “How Milwaukee organized its fight against the ‘flu’,” 250-52.

7Milwaukee, Wisc. Department of Health. Forty-second annual report of the Commissioner of Health City of Milwaukee 1918. Published under the direction of Geo. C. Ruhland, M.D. (Milwaukee: np, nd), 3.

8Milwaukee Wisc., State Medical Society of Wisconsin. Wisconsin medical journal. XVII, no. 6 (November, 1918) “How Milwaukee organized its fight against the ‘flu’,” 250-52.

9“City Starts Big Battle On Influenza,” Milwaukee Sentinel, 11 Oct. 1918, 6.

10Milwaukee Wisc., State Medical Society of Wisconsin. Wisconsin medical journal. XVII, no. 6 (November, 1918) “How Milwaukee organized its fight against the ‘flu’,” 251.

11Leavitt, Judith Walzer. The healthiest city. Milwaukee and the politics of health reform. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1996), 230.

12Leavitt, Judith Walzer. The healthiest city. Milwaukee and the politics of health reform. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1996), 229.

13Milwaukee, Wisc. Department of Health. Forty-second annual report of the Commissioner of Health City of Milwaukee 1918. Published under the direction of Geo. C. Ruhland, M.D. (Milwaukee: np, nd), 8.

14Milwaukee Wisc., State Medical Society of Wisconsin. Wisconsin medical journal. XVII, no. 6 (November, 1918) “How Milwaukee organized its fight against the ‘flu’,” 251.

15Milwaukee, Wisc. Department of Health. Forty-second annual report of the Commissioner of Health City of Milwaukee 1918. Published under the direction of Geo. C. Ruhland, M.D. (Milwaukee: np, nd), 8.

16Milwaukee, Wisc. Department of Health. Forty-second annual report of the Commissioner of Health City of Milwaukee 1918. Published under the direction of Geo. C. Ruhland, M.D. (Milwaukee: np, nd), 9.

17“City closed to fight flu,” Milwaukee Journal, 10 Oct. 1918, 1.

18Bulletin of the Milwaukee Health Department 8, no. 10-11 (1918): 1.

19“No more public funerals,” Milwaukee Journal, 11 Oct. 1918, 1.

20“City closed to fight flu,” Milwaukee Journal, 10 Oct. 1918, 1.

21Milwaukee, Wisc. Department of School Hygiene. Annual report of the Department of School Hygiene of the Board of School Directors of the city of Milwaukee for the school year ending June 30, 1919. (Milwaukee: n.p., n.d.) 17.

22“City closed to fight flu,” Milwaukee Journal, 10 Oct. 1918, 1, 14.

23“City extends grippe edict on meetings,” Milwaukee Journal, 12 Oct. 1918, 6.

24“Nurses bureau is opened,” Milwaukee Journal, 20 Oct. 1918, 11.

25“More than 3,000 ‘flu’ cases,” Milwaukee Journal, 14 Oct. 1918, 1, 3.

26“Fail to report ‘flu’ cases,” Milwaukee Journal, 15 Oct. 1918, 1.

27“Nurses bureau is opened,” Milwaukee Journal, 20 Oct. 1918, 11.

28“Weather Cause of Deaths,” Milwaukee Journal, 26 Oct. 1918, 2.

29“Flu ban lifted Monday,” Milwaukee Journal, 2 Nov. 1918, 1.

30Leavitt, Judith Walzer. The healthiest city. Milwaukee and the politics of health reform. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1996), 234.

31“More deaths reported of influenza,” Milwaukee Journal, 3 Dec. 1918, 6.

32“Mobilize nurses to fight epidemic,” Milwaukee Sentinel, 7 Dec. 1918, 6.

33“City to placard houses in flu war,” Milwaukee Journal, 5 Dec. 1918, 2.

34“Influenza again a menace,” Milwaukee Journal, 2 Dec. 1918, 2.

35“Schools closed to stop flu,” Milwaukee Journal, 2 Dec. 1918, 1, 6.

36“Flu decreases last 24 hours,” Milwaukee Journal, 12 Dec. 1918, 1.

37“Recession of grippe cases will halt ban,” Milwaukee Sentinel, 11 Dec. 1918, 1, 5.

38Milwaukee, Wisc. Common Council. Journal of Proceedings. Regular meeting, Monday, December 16, 1918. (Milwaukee: n.p., n.d.), 724-725.

39“Flu wave is ebbing,” Milwaukee Journal, 24 Dec. 1918,1.

40Markel H, Lipman HB, Navarro JA, Sloan AJ, Michalsen JR, Stern AM, et al. Nonpharmacuetical interventions implemented by U.S. cities during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. JAMA. 2007;298:647.

41Bulletin of the Milwaukee Health Department 8, no. 10-11 (1918): 3-4.

42Bulletin of the Milwaukee Health Department 8, no. 10-11 (1918): 4.

Click on image for gallery. Trinity Hospital, Milwaukee. Trinity was one of three teaching hospitals affiliated with the Milwaukee Medical College, itself affiliated with Marquette University.
Click on image for gallery. The Wisconsin State Normal School, today known as the Wisconsin State Teacher’s College. In the 1918, the school was located on Kenwood.

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Atlanta, Georgia

Timeline of Events

Excess Death Rate (per 100,000) Daily EventsClick day to view details. Selected Event
200Excess Death Rate (per 100,000)
Total Excess Death Rate ###
Total Deaths per 100,000 population over duration of epidemic (roughly 1918 September 14 through 1919 February 22).

September 18, 1918

The Second Infantry Replacement regiment at Camp Gordon–approximately 15 miles northeast of Atlanta–is placed under quarantine because of the many influenza cases that have developed within its ranks.

September 21, 1918

Other units at Camp Gordon are placed under quarantine. This means approximately half of the soldiers at the camp are prohibited from leaving. All soldiers are barred from congregating.

September 22, 1918

The United States Public Health Service tells Atlanta residents that they are not in danger from the influenza epidemic now that Camp Gordon has been quarantined.

October 3, 1918

The Georgia State Board of Health issues a warning about influenza, now widely prevalent throughout the state. The Board informs communities that they should expect many more cases of the influenza in the coming days.

October 5, 1918

In cooperation with the United States Public Health Service, the American Red Cross appoints W. Frank Persons, the director general of civilian relief, to assist local health services with financial aid, nurses, and supplies.

The first influenza-related death is reported to Dr. J. P. Kennedy, City Health Officer. The quarantine at Camp Gordon seems to be keeping cases out of Atlanta, but Dr. Kennedy fears that people traveling on trains will infect the local populace.

October 6, 1918

The Atlanta Board of Health makes influenza a reportable disease. Health Officer Kennedy estimates several hundred cases in Atlanta. The Red Cross opens workrooms to volunteers for the first time in the Atlanta chapter’s history. This is to help fill the need for 100, 000 influenza masks requested by Camp Gordon.

October 8, 1918

The Atlanta City Council, after hearing from the Board of Health, issues an order closing theaters, movie houses, schools, churches, dance halls, and billiard rooms. The order will be in place for two months unless the epidemic subsides before then. All public transportation must be run with windows wide open, temperature notwithstanding, except in the case of a heavy rain. Students report to school at the regular time this morning to retrieve books and homework before being dismissed.

October 9, 1918

The Fulton County Board of Health and county school Superintendent J. W. Simmons together decide to close county schools for thirty days, subject to change as conditions develop. The editor of the Atlanta Constitution proposes that out-of-school boys be put to work harvesting cotton crops, which would alleviate the labor shortage caused by the war as well as keep the boys outside in the fresh air and sunshine.

October 10, 1918

Health Officer Kennedy urges physicians to report influenza cases, erroneously telling them that it is required by federal regulation.

October 12, 1918

Health Officer Kennedy reports that influenza conditions in Atlanta are better than in many other cities. He also reports that there has been no marked change in the influenza situation.

October 15, 1918

Health Officer Kennedy believes that banning public gathering for one more week is necessary. He states that public health precautions are impacting the effects of influenza, but more deaths from pneumonia complications are to be expected. He adds that many sick people do not have influenza as they believe, but rather coryza.

Southeastern Fair authorities and Georgia Board of Health Director Dr. T. F. Abercrombie issue an order that all fair attendees must wear an influenza mask.

The Atlanta Theater Managers’ Association decides to launch a group protest of the closure order. They feel that it is unfair that entertainment venues such as the Southeastern Fair can continue while theaters must be closed. The Association compared the cleanliness of their theaters to some unhealthy attractions at the fair. Health Officer Kennedy states that the danger from influenza will pass by the end of the week, and that the closure order can be lifted then.

October 16, 1918

Large crowds attend the Southeastern Fair. Many people are having difficulty obtaining the face masks required to enter. The Atlanta Red Cross announces that they will provide enough masks, free of charge, for all attendees.

October 17, 1918

Eighty telephone operators–15% of the workforce–are home sick with influenza, severely impacting the ability for important calls to be connected. Residents are asked to refrain from making unnecessary telephone calls.

October 18, 1918

Health Officer Kennedy tells the public that the influenza situation is not worsening, despite recent increase in cases. He adds that Atlanta has suffered less than other large cities, especially those in the Northeast.

The local chapter of the Red Cross puts out a call for one hundred volunteers to help assemble influenza masks at the “colored Red Cross work room at 167 Auburn Avenue.”

October 19, 1918

Health Officer Kennedy announces that influenza has reached its peak in Atlanta. He warns that the death toll will continue to rise over the course of the next week or two before it begins to subside.

October 22, 1918

Health Officer Kennedy is optimistic that theaters will be allowed to open by the end of the week, and that churches will soon be able to conduct indoor services without a permit.

October 25, 1918

Health Officer Kennedy indicates that the closure order will likely be rescinded, but that a special meeting of the Board of Health will need to occur first. H. M. Patterson, president of the board, did not say when the board would next meet. The Board of Education states will definitely not open schools before November 4.

October 26, 1918

The closure order and public gathering ban are lifted. Schools are scheduled to reopen on Monday, November 4.

October 28, 1918

Atlanta theaters reopen to large crowds.

November 4, 1918

Atlanta schools reopen.

November 9, 1918

After receiving a federal report, Health Officer Kennedy announces that only three other American cities (Grand Rapids, Cambridge, and Spokane) had lower death rates during the epidemic than Atlanta.

November 17, 1918

Reports indicate that influenza cases in Atlanta are increasing.

December 4, 1918

Acting School Superintendent Charles S. Culver announces that, because of the time lost during the closure order, the school year will end on June 20 instead of June 1.

December 13, 1918

Influenza cases are on the rise in Atlanta. Health Officer Kennedy tells residents to prepare for an increased death rate for the next several weeks.

December 17, 1918

The Atlanta Red Cross forms a committee to aid public health authorities in ending the influenza threat in the city. The public safety committee of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce decides not to recommend another public gathering ban, and instead would like to urge individuals to take precautions against sneezing, coughing, and spitting in public, and to ventilate streetcars and places of public amusement. Health Officer Kennedy agrees with the recommendations.

December 20, 1918

Reports indicate that the recent spike in influenza cases is subsiding.

December 21, 1918

The Red Cross, Associated Charities, and Anti-Tuberculosis Society form a Clearing House Committee to reduce redundancy in the reporting of cases and the managing nursing care and post-epidemic charity. All reports made to the health department will now be routed to the secretary of the Clearing House Committee.

December 22, 1918

The epidemic continues to subside. Health Officer Kennedy states that even though physicians are not reporting every new case of disease, the lower death rate is reflected in the number of burial permits.

December 31, 1918

With the epidemic over, the Board of Health once again takes over requests for nursing and medical aid from the Clearing House Committee.