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The Bound Congressional Record – Congressional Reactions to the 1918 Flu Pandemic

The Bound Congressional Record on Congress.gov now offers almost 100 years of
content, covering 1899 to 1994. As part of a new series, we are going to show you how
you can explore congressional remarks on significant moments in American history
using this resource. We did this once before by highlighting congressional reactions to the launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik.

Today, I explore congressional remarks on the 1918 flu pandemic in the
65th and 66th Congresses. To accomplish this, I selected the Bound Congressional Record in the drop-down menu on the Congress.gov homepage and searched for “flu.” I knew I would find congressional reactions to the pandemic in the 65th and 66th Congresses, so I selected those Congresses using the filters menu on the results screen. In order to figure out which results were most relevant before clicking on them, I scrolled up to the top of the results screen and chose “Show Keywords in Context.” This option displays snippets of the text under each search result. In the discussion copied below, Rep. Fess discusses an exchange with the Surgeon General over how the flu could be treated and projections on cost.

Screenshot demonstrating search results in the Bound Congressional Record Database on Congress.gov.

Keyword in context search results in the Bound Congressional Record on Congress.gov.

We hope you enjoy exploring congressional reactions to historic events in the Congressional Record. Let us know in the comments if you find something you would like to share, or if there are historical events you think should be highlighted in future posts.

A newspaper page, the top half of page 4372 from the February 26, 1919 Bound Congressional Record from the 65th Congress, 3rd Session, Volume 57, Part 5.

The top half of page 4372 from the February 26, 1919 Bound Congressional Record from the 65th Congress, 3rd Session, Volume 57, Part 5.

A newspaper page, the bottom half of page 4372 from the February 26, 1919 Bound Congressional Record from the 65th Congress, 3rd Session, Volume 57, Part 5.

The bottom half of page 4372 from the February 26, 1919 Bound Congressional Record from the 65th Congress, 3rd Session, Volume 57, Part 5.

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