Washington DC History Resources

Matthew B. Gilmore

October 26, 1918

The daily influenza death toll spiked back up to 34, from 22. New cases dropped to 402. The influenza hospital has 247 patients.

“Instead of being discouraged both health officers [Mustard and Fowler] feel encouraged at conditions as they find them today. Bearing out this opinion of the fluctuations, it is recalled that there was a decrease of twenty-seven deaths yesterday as compared with the previous period.”

Click here for today’s Evening Star for news of the epidemic:

https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1918-10-26/ed-1/

Oct26stillclosed

A long letter to the editor by Randolph H. McKim is severely critical of the Commissioners’ determination to keep the churches closed. McKim is the rector of Church of the Epiphany Episcopal Church http://epiphanydc.org/2017/10/30/november-3-mckim-memorial-chime-bells-1922/

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Reverend Randolph H. McKim of Epiphany Episcopal Church

“This order, like similar ones In our country at this time, is without precedent in the history of epidemics. There have been destructive epidemics in America before now, but never has any authority forbidden the assembling of the people for public prayer. Nor in all the pestilences that have scourged Europe in past ages do we know of any such action by the authorities of a Christian country. With all due deference, we submit that it is an assault upon the Christian character of our country. It is a surrender to materialism. It is dangerously near an infringement upon the sacred right of freedom of worship guaranteed American citizens in the first amendment to the Constitution. At a time when  department stores are wide open, and poolrooms and bowling alleys, the church of the
Living God is ordered to close its doors and virtually admit that the Lord’s hand is shortened, that it cannot save!”

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