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Exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I

Dorothy Kitchen O'Neill to "Dearest Family," October 10, 1918. Miscellaneous Manuscript Collection, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (154.00.00)
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Dorothy Kitchen O'Neill to "Dearest Family," October 10, 1918. Miscellaneous Manuscript Collection, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (154.00.00)
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"I was down for a week"

The Great War did not cause the epidemic of influenza that swept the world in 1918 and killed more than 30 million people. However the war likely helped to spread the disease, an especially deadly strain of flu, with its crowding of troops in training camps and trenches and the flow of people across oceans and borders. In this letter home, American Red Cross volunteer Dorothy Kitchen O'Neill describes how she and forty other women came down with influenza on the voyage to Europe; four of those women died. Dorothy wrote to her family on October 10, 1918: "I was down for a week and have only been up for two days so feel shaky."

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