Research Collaboration:

Comparing Spanish Influenza and COVID 19 in Northfield

Introducing a new, stand-alone podcast episode comparing the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic and the COVID 19 pandemic as it
was experienced in Northfield. The episode is the result of a research collaboration in the fall of 2020 between NHS and two
Carleton College classes, the Historians For Hire and the Anthropology of Health and Illness.
The research teams were comprised of three students from the Historians For Hire seminar – KatieRose Kimball, Sasha Mothershead, and Lea
Winston – and three students from the Anthropology of Health and Illness class – Jakob Boeye, Marcella Lees, and Cas Roland. They spent the fall
term researching, interviewing, and evaluating life in the community amid our current pandemic. Over the term break at Christmas, all six
students came together to tell the stories of their research, ask questions of each other, and, ultimately, to create a podcast episode to
disseminate their research.


The 1918 Spanish Influenza Epidemic in Northfield

In the Fall of 2020, the Northfield Historical Society welcomed a

team of researchers from Carleton College’s Historians For

Hire. NHS wanted to learn how Northfield handled the 1918 Spanish

Flu Epidemic. We wanted to draw comparisons to the current

COVID-19 pandemic. KatieRose Kimball, Sasha Mothershead, and

Lea Winston were willing to research Northfield’s experience with

the epidemic. They looked at resources and themes playing out in

the public and on the two college campuses.


The Historians For Hire turned their body of research into a detailed

timeline that can be interactively explored. They also created a

thematic guide to answer the types of questions we had prior to

their project. Both finished products are available on this page as

well as citations and notes from the resources they  used to create

these research tools.

Influenza Timeline

Timeline of the Spanish Flu in Northfield, 1918-1920


Q & A on the Spanish Influenza Epidemic

1918 Spanish Influenza In-Depth


Local Stories and References

1918-1920 Northfield News

1918-1920 Northfield Independent

1918-1920_ Carletonian

1918-1920_ Manitou Messenger


COVID-19 in Northfield

ln the Fall of 2020, the Northfield Historical Society also

welcomed three researchers from the Anthropology of

Health and Illness class at Carleton College. We wanted to

focus on COVID-19  and draw comparisons to the 1918

Spanish Influenza outbreak. Jakob Boeye, Marcella Lees,

and Cas Roland researched how Northfielders were coping

with COVID-19 and how the pandemic was affecting their

lives. The students wrote formal papers on their topics and

held a final conference via Zoom to present their individual

research. The transcripts of two interviews with Northfield

Hospital and Clinics administrators conducted by Cas Roland

can be found here.

Interview with Steve Underdahl

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Interview with Dr. Jeffrey Meland

Read Transcript