Saturday, April 25, 2009
As the swine flu that emerged in Mexico began to make headlines, the quaint hamlet that is Princeton had its own worries: Whooping cough! ...But now swine flu too, after students from Queens began exhibiting symptoms this week.
All this talk of quarantines and masks and avoiding small children naturally got us thinking about the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that infected a third of the world's population .
Princeton was lucky in that no students died, though the halls of McCosh were packed. We'd say the administration handled it pretty well --shutting off the campus and isolating its students from the flu.
We found an article in a recent Princeton Alumni Weekly, "Why Princeton was spared," about ...why Princeton was spared. Also in the article is a look back at what Princeton was like during World War I. (Hint: West Point!)
The best quotes after the jump.
"Each of the 200 men who arrived at the paymaster’s school Oct. 1 from the naval training camp at Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, where an outbreak had been noted, was ordered to strip. Their outer clothing was placed in a disinfecting room overnight, to be sterilized by exposure to barium dioxide-formaldehyde. The men then had a solution of chlorazene and menthol sprayed into their noses and throats before being given hot baths. Anyone who showed the slightest symptom of infection was dispatched to isolation."
"In an order dated Oct. 28, Goodrich prohibited all naval men from going anywhere in town east of Bayard Lane or north of Nassau Street without special permission...(It appears, however, that the ban on going into town was often evaded. In one story, a green freshman from the SATC program assigned to patrol Nassau Street discovered two upperclassmen who had sneaked off to Renwick’s ice cream parlor. When he confronted them and demanded their names, they gave him the names of a proctor and the dean of students, which he promptly reported to the corporal of the guard.)"