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pandemics



  • The Mask Slackers of 1918

    In 1918 and 1919, as bars, saloons, restaurants, theaters and schools were closed, masks became a scapegoat, a symbol of government overreach, inspiring protests, petitions and defiant bare-face gatherings. All the while, thousands of Americans were dying in a deadly pandemic.



  • The Surprisingly Deep—and Often Troubling—History of ‘Social Distancing’

    Doctoral student Lily Scherlis traced the evolution of the term in a “social history of social distancing,” from the earliest reference she could find in English—in the 1831 translation of Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne’s memoirs of his friendship with Napoleon—to the Social Distance Scale that sociologist Emory Bogardus created in the aftermath of the Red Summer of 1919.



  • A Tour of the Plague Years in New York

    by Mike Wallace and Edwin Burroughs

    Two New York City historians revisit well- and lesser-known pandemics from the city's past. 



  • 5 Ways to Rebuild Labor and Transform America

    The COVID-19 crisis presents an opportunity for organized labor to fight for a more equitable economy and society, not just better pay and benefits, if the movement learns from historical successes and failures.



  • George Washington Would Have So Worn a Mask

    by Maurizio Valsana

    The genre “What would X do?” – where X stands for a noted figure in history, say Jesus or Dolly Parton – is silly. And yet, as a scholar writing a new biography of George Washington, I can’t help making a bold declaration: The Father of His Country would wear his mask in public.



  • The Contagion and a Cure

    by Mark Lause

    Mark Lause looks at the 1793 yellow fever pandemic in Philadelphia from a working class history perspective, and finds it informs us today.



  • Pandemic Narratives and the Historian

    A group of historians including Alison Bashford, Simuka Chigudu, Deborah Coen, Richard Keller, Julie Livingston, Nayan Shah and Paul Weindling discuss the helpful and harmful ways historians have examined the COVID-19 crisis.