Staggering Losses: WW1 & The Flu

Hi WN@TL Fans,
The Scotsman Kenneth Grahame spoke for many a Sconnie when he pointed out that “there is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
For some of us, it would have been just as true had he sung the delights of messing about in books.  Boats, books: both are vessels of adventure, sometimes in familiar waters, sometimes into the unknown.  Once you hop in, you never know for sure where the winds & the waves & the currents will take you. 
This week (March 6Micaela Sullivan-Fowler of the Ebling Library will share insights into how she navigated the straits between two of the 20th Century’s formative catastrophes for her latest exhibit at the Health Sciences Learning Center, entitled “Staggering Losses:  World War I and the Pandemic Influenza of 1918.”  Micaela tells a graphic and often wrenching tale of lives shortened and hopes shattered.
Here’s how she describes her talk: 
The presentation, including representative images from Staggering Losses, will focus on the process of creating the exhibition from print and online resources, the narratives that were revealed, the conjunctions made between the various disciplinary themes, and the research opportunities that remain. Overall, it’s about medical transport, medical care, reconstruction of bodies and psyches, animal “volunteers,” UW soldiers and students, people of color, both soldiers and caregivers, a virulent virus and the indomitable human spirit.”


About the Speaker:
Micaela is the Head of Rare books and Special Collections and Head of Marketing & Communications at the Ebling Library for the Health Sciences on UW’s west campus. She curates the collections of materials that spans the 15th century through the early 20th century. She received her master’s degree in library science at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and her master’s in public history at Loyola University in Chicago. 
Before coming to UW in 1998 she was a stay-at-home mom who helped inform one the first online medical databases, and before that, was a historical and clinical librarian at the American Medical Association in Chicago. In the last two decades, Micaela has been responsible for helping countless students learn how to optimize their historical research skills, been a liaison to UW’s Department of Medical History & Bioethics, envisioned and coordinated a journal advertisement retrieval project and nurtured the beginnings of the UW Science Expeditions on the west side of campus. 
But if you ask her what her most creative, proudest moments are, she would likely say, the exhibitions that she installed over the last 10 years. Many of those coming to Wednesday Nite @ the Lab might have seen some of her favorites, Fallout: The Mixed Blessing of Radiation & the Public HealthSeaworthy: A History of Maritime Health & MedicineInforming Consent: Unwitting Subjects in Medicine’s Pursuit of Beneficial Knowledge, and It’s Good for You: 100 Years of the Art & Science of Eating.

FalloutInforming Consent, and It’s Good for You were created in conjunction with the Go Big Read common book reading program on UW’s campus.  Fallout andSeaworthy also had an art installation component to them, one on Chernobyl photographs and one on deep sea watercolors which Micaela coordinated. In planning an exhibition, Micaela capitalizes on the print, online and artifactual resources available at Ebling and on campus. Starting with a health sciences sensibility, she then looks for relationships between disciplines, between themes, and between pieces in the individual display cases. A presumably clinical topic like maritime medicine, for example, revealed countless conjunctions with science, medicine, economics, society, race, culture, and the humanities. The stories that were uncovered through the primary journal, advertising, book, newspaper and magazine resources place those themes in different contexts than we might have anticipated, and can act as a catalyst for further exploration.

She looks forward to you visiting the current exhibition, Staggering Losses: World War 1 & the Influenza Pandemic of 1918, and seeing what she revealed. Though constrained by 13 glass display cases, the exhaustive topic of WW1 and influenza was given an admirable run for its money…

When I first wrote down Micaela’s title, I thought she had said it was “Shattering Losses.”  Made sense to me:  the shards of the quick and of the killed, the sherds of the wounded and the maimed, whether by combat or contagion.  To refer to the time as a shattering seemed apt from many angles.
Next week (March 13)  Robert Lemanske of Pediatrics speaks on the origins and possible cures of childhood asthma.  His talk was originally scheduled for January 30, but was postponed due to the projected -30F temperatures and -60F windchills.  Plus, the university shut down.
We’re hoping the mercury will climb higher and the winds will go calmer next week.  Still, I’m keeping my parka at hand. 
I hope to see you soon at Wednesday Nite @ The Lab.
Tom Zinnen
Biotechnology Center & Extension Division