Social distancing in 1918: rare Spanish Flu ephemera

Social distancing in 1918: rare Spanish Flu ephemera

Stock Number: 042


Scarce US Government leaflet describing the symptoms , transmission, immunology and public health response to Spanish Flu





Country of manufacture

North America

Categories: Bookshop, Medicine, Medical Books


Title: “Spanish Influenza” / “Three-Day Fever” / “The Flu”

Publisher: United States Government Publishing Office, Washington, DC

This leaflet was one of the US Government’s main weapons against the so-called ‘Spanish Flu’, the global pandemic that infected up to one third of the entire population of the planet between 1918 and 1920. The leaflet advises social distancing, self-isolation if infection is suspected, and has information that remains useful to this day on the importance of overall health in fighting disease. The section on airborne transmission could have been issued in 2020. The leaflet ends with a rhyme “Cover up each cough and sneeze / If you don’t you’ll spread disease”. Evidently this leaflet was printed in large numbers, yet it remains a notable rarity (no copies can be located outside of the US), and is normally found in dismal condition owing to it’s exceptional fragility. The present copy is in very good condition indeed, noting only minor chipping and a few flattened folds (but see photographs). Note that this is the original printing; not the subsequent Red Cross reissue. Garrison-Morton (online edition) #11922.

Physical description: 110x150mm; pp. 4.

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GB Octavo Books

Small online bookstore specializing in the history of science, trading on ABEbooks since 2006:

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