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1918

Thomas Sutton, Needham Town Clerk and longtime supporter of the hospital

The influenza epidemic hits Needham. An Emergency Health committee is formed to build an emergency annex on Chestnut Street. The Glover Home and Hospital and its annex admits 121 flu patients between September 1918 and January 1919, of which 22 cases are fatal.

"A hospital appeals very strongly to me. The times through which we have just passed show how much we need such an institution. A hospital will be a comfort always to all who need it."
- Thomas Sutton, Town Clerk; Needham Chronicle, February 8, 1919

Nurses in Boston preparing food and "gruel" for the sick

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department

In Needham, a Red Cross Canteen was set up to provide food for sick patients at the hospital and in infected homes. Twenty townswomen volunteered as cooks and many more donated foods.


Nurses in Boston preparing food and "gruel" for the sick.




A City of Boston Health Department poster warning citizens about influenza, "Influenza and Pneumonia: Advice as to Care of Patients, and as to Prevention of these Diseases," from William C. Woodward, MD, Health Commissioner, 1918

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society
A City of Boston Health Department poster warning citizens about influenza



A man being inoculated with the influenza virus

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department
Man being inoculated with the influenza virus


Women being inoculated with the influenza virus

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department
Women being inoculated with the influenza virus




A handwritten graph comparing influenza fatality rates from 1917 to 1918, "Boston Influenza chart," January 12, 1919

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department
A handwritten graph comparing influenza fatality rates from 1917 to 1918





A Boston patrolman wearing a mask, 1918

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department
Boston Patrolman wearing mask, 1918

An in-depth article about influenza and the Glover Home and Hospital featured in the hospital publication Monitor:
"Flashback - 1918 - Epidemic!
A fledgling hospital and a closely-knit community face a critical challenge in the closing months of World War I as the 1918-19 flu epidemics come to Needham"
By John Day, Spring 1979

Download PDF »
Article about the influenza epidemic and the Glover Home and Hospital (click for PDF)

Contact Information

Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham
148 Chestnut Street
Needham, MA 02492
781-453-3000