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The Spanish Flu was active in Athens, Georgia when Viola was pregnant.

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Viola's killers tried to blame her death on the flu epidemic.

In those days, the word Flu hadn't been used in Athens, Georgia until 1918. Grippe (a French word pronounced grip) had been their word for influenza.

There had been an epidemic of grippe in 1899.

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By 1915 grippe had become a common seasonal illness.

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The 1918-19 flu epidemic that we historically know of, hasn't yet begun. But small mentions in the paper indicate that a lot of grippe was going around in the Winter of 1918.

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Winter of 1917/18 brings something deadly to life.

37, 000 military horses and mules suddenly die of influenza. In 2020 money that would be a loss of $14,400,000.

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History tells us that the 1918 influenza pandemic started in springtime.

In a small article on the front page of the Banner's evening edition of Wed. Sept. 19, 1918, the first news of the Spanish Flu is published in Athens.

In the coming months, the word influenza displaces the use of grippe. Soon, the word Flu is first used in the Athens news.

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But five months earlier, the word Flu-Flu incessantly paraded Athens during March and April of 1918.

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Flu-Flu, a patriotic Broadway-Style production, involved all of Athenian patrician society for months.

All good Euro-Americans wanting to play are invited! The local chapter of the The United Daughters of the Confederacy engages amateurs, especially children, to put on this professional patriotic pageant and revue.

What nicer way to fall in love than waiting in the wings of the Stage? That Spectacle nurtured for us to play, protected, within.

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Young men, young beaux, take notice!

Janie studies Beaux-Arts.

Readers!
Notice supremely correct women's Spring footwear.

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The star of Flu-Flu, Miss Janie Webb is on two of the four production committees (Program and Stage). Janie's mother is President of Flu-Flu's sponsor, The Lara Rutherford Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

All the young Athenian ladies study Beaux-Arts, French, Domestic Science, and History at Miss Millie Rutherford's Lucy Cobb Institute.

When the great French Artiste, Sarah Bernhardt played Athens' Colonial Theater two years earlier... ... Janie visited each performance. Janie kept a scrapbook of Bernhardt and other artistes... what happened to that album?

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Flu-Flu's composed by theater professionals, for use by amateur groups all over the nation. Flu-Flu's a big success.

Flu-Flu's slogan:
Flu-Flu, a World of Fun!

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Flu-Flu pays for itself, and a little extra.

Why would the name Flu-Flu be used for a patriotic pageant?

Two weeks after Flu-Flu's budget is settled, The Flu arrives.

History tells us that the epidemic was well known by experts during Spring of 1918; when Flu-Flu was an intimate, civic theater preoccupation.

In a small article on the front page of the Banner's evening edition of Wed. Sept. 19, 1918, the first news of the Spanish Flu is published in Athens.

A week after the first notice of influenza in the Charleston Army Camp, a front page article reports a health crisis.

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During the Fall of 1918...
... the 19th century ends.

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A week later, above an article reporting the visit of the Ringling Brothers Circus to Athens, is an insignificant article warning that the influenza epidemic is not over. Athens has yet to experience anything of an influenza epidemic.

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Three days later, on Friday, Oct.4, in a front page article and a page five article, is urgent news of the epidemic.

The article warns that Spanish Flu is on the increase, among the public, while at the same time claiming that cases are decreasing in the military. This type of mixed messaging becomes common in subsequent reports.

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That Sunday, the first Athenian influenza cases are reported as top line news items, just below headlines about the imminent surrender of Germany. Prominent Judge Holden (who will recover) and Pvt. Chester Adair (who had died in France).

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That following week and for about 3 weeks, Athenians quarantined. Most institutions suspended activity.

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Scouring the obituary page for Monday, October 14, 1918, The Athens Herald reports:
11 people died on that weekend, about 0.7% of Athens' 16,000 citizens.

9 deaths were under 40 years of age.
5 deaths identified as Spanish Flu related.
The other 4 deaths were 2 young children and 2 young parents; could have been flu but unannounced.

Only 1 elderly person had died.
1 young soldier died on the battlefield.

7 people sick or recovering, almost half from Spanish Flu.
3 expected to die from influenza;
3 expected to recover from flu
;
1 expected to die of something.

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Athens publishes the Federal Government's guidelines to combat the epidemic. Note the similarity to the guidelines issued in 2020. Not much changed in 100 years.

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After about 3 weeks, local newspapers report the worst of the worldwide 1918-19 flu pandemic had passed Athens, Georgia .

About 4% of Athenians report an active case of Spanish Flu when quarantine was lifted in Athens. It was likely much higher because more than half the population of Athens lived in such extreme poverty that doctors were often unavailable and fear of authority pervasive.

However, quarantine in 1918 is difficult for us to understand, today in 2020. In 1918 Athens, GA, public gatherings, such as church were still prohibited after the quarantine was lifted.

Lifting the quarantine, the Athens Board of Health further restricted businesses with new anti-loitering regulations. Soda parlors were force to suspend business altogether.

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During the Winter of 1918/19, there is very little additional reporting of the epidemic.

Had Athens beaten back the epidemic with early effective quarantine?

It does seem that... Flu01 People Wore Masks
.

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Other than advertising for medicine, the following poem is the last mention of the flu epidemic in Athens news.

This poem, gives the impression that the Spanish Flu was widespread in Athens. Though no longer newsworthy, humorous art acknowledges the deadly flu. If you can't cry, laugh.

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Viola's killers argued that Viola's miscarriage on Feb. 20, 1919 had been the result of her possibly having had caught the Spanish Flu.

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