april, 2019

tue30apr7:00 pm9:00 pmDecorah Genealogy Association presents: Historian Michael Luick-Thrams on the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918.7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Decorah Senior CenterAge:All agesCost:Free/Small Donation

Event Details


The Decorah Genealogy Association is hosting a special guest lecture by Iowa Historian Michael Luick-Thrams on the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918. Please join us at the Decorah Senior Center on April 30th at 7pm.  

Luick-Thrams:  “The killer came from Kansas – or was it China?  In any case, he was a world traveler: Before he returned to the Midwest, he trekked via France and Africa to Britain, then back to the American Heartland aboard a ship through Boston Harbor.  Before he ceased his killing spree, in a matter of a few weeks he claimed the lives of more than 6,000 Iowans. A microscopic leveler, the influenza virus that unleashed the pandemic of 1918 that took 675,000 American lives and an estimated 50 million worldwide, was the greatest disaster to decimate humankind in modern times.”  

Luick-Thrams will outline suspected and documented origins of that cataclysm, as well as chart and map the infection’s rates, routes and tolls.  Articles, photos and other print-media documentation of the disease and its vast impact, and a short related film will bring the story together focusing on Iowans’ responses to it, both measured and hysterical, effective and useless.”

Luick-Thrams will speak to the impact of the pandemic in Iowa.  What was the impact on Winneshiek County?

A more local view of the pandemic will be given by Birgitta and Marguerita Meade of rural Decorah.  Their grandfather and great uncle were students at Luther College during that time and wrote home to their family about the impact of the flu on the Luther community. They will read from their family letters.  

Statistics given in a Washington Post article from September 27, 2018 state that the flu killed and hospitalized more people in the United States during the previous winter than any seasonal influenza in decades.  Influenza killed about 80,000 people in the 2017-2018 season according to figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including 180 children. Only the 2009 swine flu pandemic, which killed 358 children, was worse.  It is virtually impossible to predict the coming flu season, but looking at the statistice, the estimates have ranged from a low of 12,000 deaths during 2011-2012, to a previous high of 56,000 during 2012-2013. Are we in for another pandemic like the one in 1918?  Are we ready?

Decorah Genealogy Association invites you to join us for the evening to learn more about the Pandemic of 1918.  Perhaps you have stories to share. The Decorah Senior Center is handicap accessible and has plenty of parking available.  Everyone is welcome.


(Tuesday) 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Decorah Senior Center

806 River Street