On this episode of the Deerfield Public Library Podcast, we welcome back reporter Graham Ambrose to talk about Illinois during the 1918 influenza pandemic. Graham is currently a reporter for the Quad City Times, where last month he wrote an article titled “102 years ago, the Spanish flu slammed the Quad Cities. Here’s what it teaches us about pandemics.” 

The 1918 flu pandemic had a huge impact on modern life and consciousness, yet it’s a history we don’t always talk about. And suddenly, it’s newly relevant. Graham and I discuss the lessons we can learn from this history as we face the COVID-19 pandemic today, using news stories and literature from all over Illinois, including our own North Shore communities, Chicago, and the Quad Cities.

Graham Ambrose was previously on our podcast to discuss his Yale history thesis on Deerfield’s racial integration history, as part of our Fight to Integrate Deerfield series. See our list of sources and ways the library can be a portal for your own history deep dives. Or check out an ebook of some of the literature from the 1918 pandemic: They Came Like Swallows by William Maxwell and Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter.

We hope you enjoy our 37th episode! Each month we release an episode featuring a conversation with a notable guest, including authors, artists, and leaders from Deerfield, Chicagoland, and the world. Learn more about the podcast on our podcast page.

You can listen to all of our episodes in the player below or on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, or anywhere else you listen to podcasts. We welcome your comments and feedback—please send to [email protected].