Contributed by Layne Carpenter
Laupus Library’s History Collections recently installed an exhibit to commemorate the service of health care workers during the First World War. The exhibit, entitled North Carolina & The Great War: Medical Professionals on the Western Front, explores the stories of doctors and nurses from eastern North Carolina and the 1918 influenza epidemic.
Several doctors from Pitt County served as medical officers in the American Expeditionary Forces and the Volunteer Medical Service Corps. Doctors faced many obstacles as they treated never before seen wounds, including gas poisoning and machine gun injuries. Medical kits, surgical equipment, and letters shed light on the stories of these men. The nursing segment of the exhibit discusses the role of the Red Cross in the war. Featured is a Red Cross nurse’s uniform and cap on loan from the Country Doctor Museum.
The 1918 influenza epidemic, which infected soldiers on the front and civilians at home, had an immediate impact in North Carolina. Through public health materials found in our collection, we tell the story of how the local community handled the outbreak and lessons learned about disease control.
Also featured are quotes taken from our collection material that describe horror of war and the nature of medical care on the front. Photographs from our collections and the National Library of Medicine provide additional visuals.
On February 6, 2018, from 4-6pm, ECU will be holding the opening reception for this exhibit. Beginning at 4:30pm, local historians will discuss the war’s influence in Pitt County specifically, including stories about local doctors and the Influenza Epidemic.
For more information, see http://calendar.ecu.edu/event/north_carolina_the_great_war_medical_professionals_on_the_western_front#.WnOCBa6nHct. The exhibit will be on display through March 18, 2018.