Centenary College Archives creates exhibit highlighting 1918 flu pandemic experience

Brown family, circa 1917. Ellis (center) died from influenza in 1918 and was memorialized by his brothers in 1955 through their dedication of the Ellis H. Brown Memorial Meditation Chapel located inside Brown Memorial Chapel.

SHREVEPORT, LA — The Centenary College of Louisiana Archives and Special Collections presents the exhibit 1918 Flu Pandemic. It highlights examples of how the 1918 flu pandemic affected people connected to Centenary College as well as Louisiana Methodism. The exhibit is accessible online and is also on display in the College's Whited Room lobby of Bynum Commons.

"In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to show how people dealt with and documented the 1918 flu pandemic,” says archivist Chris Brown '01. "There are many familiar themes: closing public places, product shortages, tragic deaths, and inspiring stories from health care workers."

Archives student workers Celeste Muniz '23, Tori Reich '24, and Chris Willie '24 helped research and prepare the exhibit.

“I learned that the 1918 Flu epidemic wasn’t so different compared to what we are going through now,” says Reich. “A surprising thing about this was some of the cures and preventions that were being posted in the papers were actually posted without knowing if they worked. Students were being sent home, and school was shut down for them just like it was for us at the end of the last school year.”

The mission of the Centenary College Archives and Special Collections is to collect, preserve, and make available the historic records of the College and the Louisiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. For more information, contact Chris Brown at 318.869.5462 or archives@centenary.edu.


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