Sunday, January 20, 2019

When The 1918 Influenza Pandemic Reached Keene

influenza articleLocal historian and author Margaret Bartley is set to give a talk on the impact the 1918 Influenza Pandemic had in the Town of Keene at the Keene Valley Library.

Bartley has collected individual stories and photos that help convey the impact the public health crisis had on the relatively isolated community. She will detail the devastating flu’s impact on Keene and the surrounding Adirondack region. Bartley estimates 90% of the hamlet’s population was infected. At one point in 1919, there were so many deaths town officials struggled to bury the bodies.


Worldwide, an estimated half a billion people were infected – one-third of the world’s population – during the pandemic called the Spanish Flu.  In the US, the death toll was 675,000.

While most of the Old World and United States were hit hard by the flu in 1918, a rebound effect brought the an epidemic wave to Keene the following year.

This talk is sponsored by the Town of Keene Historical Society and the Adirondack History Museum. This is first in a series of programs planned for 2019 by the Keene Historical Society. The event is free and open to the public and will be held on Monday, January 21st, at 7 pm at the Keene Valley Library on Route 73 in Keene Valley, NY.


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2 Responses

  1. Amy Godine says:

    Heard this talk and it’s a fine one. Go, Maggie!

  2. Robert Johns says:

    News to me, and being born, in Keene just after that period I’m wondering why nobody ever mentioned it. Just to be sure though I spent time reading through every local newspaper available from that period. The only mention was a very old issue of Adirondack Life that ran an article on how actress Pearl Fay White who played a role in the “Perils of Pauline” silent film series which was filmed in Port Henry was very surprised to learn that her agent had published several fictitious articles in New York City about her delivering medicine by dog sled to the hamlet of Keene which was isolated by a raging blizzard.

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