Living Columns & Blogs

Share our heritage: ‘Business as usual’ at Penn State despite flu outbreak

A sign on Penn State’s campus in 1917 let visitors and students know that the university would operate with “business as usual,” despite an influenza outbreak in the U.S.
A sign on Penn State’s campus in 1917 let visitors and students know that the university would operate with “business as usual,” despite an influenza outbreak in the U.S. Photo provided

Today’s photo is from Tom Smith, of State College. It features a photo taken by his father, H.O. Smith, when he arrived on campus in 1917 to start his sophomore year at Penn State.

The photo is a close-up of the sign attached to the west pier of the gate, which announced Penn State’s intention to operate with “business as usual” and “the regular session of the college will open Sept. 12, 1917.” That would be done despite the threat imposed in 1917 by the high incidence of influenza in the U.S., which later mutated with other strains into the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918.

ABOUT THIS SERIES

Each Monday, the Centre Daily Times will publish an installment in our “Share our Heritage” series, featuring photos from Centre County’s past. Readers are welcome to submit photos to the CDT by mail, in person or by email at jmcallister@centredaily.com.

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