Forgetting and Remembering the Great Flu: Collecting and Shaping Narratives
The 1918-19 influenza pandemic was for many years underrepresented in historiography, until Alfred Crosby and Richard Collier’s groundbreaking works stimulated reassessments of its impact. But how was it remembered at community or individual level? In this paper, Ida Milne, a social historian of disease, explores the history of her own collecting of 1918-19 flu memory in Ireland, looking at how it has undergone significant sea changes since she first recorded interviews with survivors in 2006. What might these changes indicate for Covid-19 memory?
Ida Milne is European History lecturer at Carlow College, Ireland, a visiting research fellow at Trinity College, Dublin, chair of the health and environment strand of the European Social Science History Conference and co-chair of the international committee of the Oral History Association. Her monograph, Stacking the Coffins, Influenza War and Revolution in Ireland 1918-19 was published by Manchester University Press in 2018, and was awarded a Choice Reviews OATS (Outstanding Academic Titles) in 2019.