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How can I find out whether there was a flu epidemic in Philadelphia in 1935-37? Answered

My grandmother died *way* before I was born, and I know very little about her. She's said to have died in a flu epidemic in Philadelphia sometime around 1936, but I haven't been able to find any information on a flu epidemic there at that time. Any thoughts or ideas on how I could chase it down?


(Note: I have plenty of information on the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918. Since my father was born in 1926, I'm pretty sure that the 1918 epidemic is not the one my grandmother died in.)



Best Answer 9 years ago

Typing in "1936 flu epidemic" into Google gives some useful information in the first few hits (including this question, amusingly :-). Have you tried this yet?

http://www.jstor.org/stable/4581968 is a public health report on mortality nationwide from the 1936-1937 epidemic, including a breakdown by region.

http://www.jaoa.org/cgi/content/full/105/11/498 mentions the epidemic, and its reference 12 mentions (page 326) that the outbreak was "mild in the East," presumably including Philadelphia.

Thanks! I thought I had Googled this into the ground; but it's easy for me to forget that the internet is ever-changing and, much as you can never step into the same river twice, you can never search the same internet twice. Re-Googling led me to some great info. (Side note: Isn't it bizarre that you can type a sequence of words like "klondike octagon trousers" into a comment like this, post it, and then moments later see it turn up in Google?)

Google can be really disturbing at times. Glad the information was useful to you!

Try the local health department, or newspaper. It may not have been an 'epidemic', it may have been an 'outbreak'.