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primary sources



  • “A Keen Vision and Feeling of All Ordinary Life”: Pandemic Journaling in the History Classroom

    by Michelle Orihel

    Since memory is essential to functioning in our daily lives, we all think historically to survive, even if only to question ourselves: “Did I pay that bill yesterday?” In answering that question, we reconstruct yesterday’s actions in our minds and perhaps even search for physical (or in today’s case, digital) evidence of that task. There it is — historical thinking!



  • Letters From The 1918 Pandemic (Podcast)

    In this podcast, medical historian Dr. Howard Markel shares lessons to be learned from the 1918 flu outbreak, and podcast host shares 102-year-old letters from her aunt's family.


  • Lessons on Isolation and Humanity in a Family's Letters from Hiding

    by Daphne Geismar

    A virus doesn’t discriminate. But our social structures, systemic biases, and policy choices have made some populations particularly vulnerable. This pandemic has changed us. We must make changes so this tragedy, like the Holocaust, isn’t repeated.



  • What We Can Learn from 1918 Influenza Diaries

    Historians including Kevin Levin, Nancy Bristow and Lora Vogt reflect on what people today can do to help historians of the future understand life during the COVID crisis. 



  • The Quarantine Diaries

    Around the world, the history of our present moment is taking shape in journal entries and drawings.