Digital resource highlights 1918 flu epidemic

The University of Michigan has established a digital collection of materials related to the 1918 flu epidemic.

Called "The American Influenza Epidemic of 1918: A Digital Encyclopedia," it was created by the Center for the History of Medicine in partnership with the U-M Library's MPublishing unit.

It documents 50 communities in the U.S. during fall 1918 and winter 1919, a period when the effects of influenza caused the deaths of an estimated 650,000 Americans and millions more worldwide.

The encyclopedia contains more than 50,000 digitized pages, including correspondence, newspaper accounts, military records, diaries and photos.

U-M associate university librarian for publishing John Wilkin says officials are "very proud that this digital resource ... will be freely available to everyone, from researchers to elementary school students to the general public."