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Life in 1918
Snapshot of the World in 1918
The Nation's Health
Seeking Medical Care
The Public Health Service

Life in 1918

Snapshot of the World in 1918

Roller skating rinks, movies, dance halls, pool halls, amusement parks, saloons. In 1918, Americans had more money and more leisure time than any previous generation and they flocked to these activities in growing numbers.

Entertainment, a woman's place, the war, transportation, communication. More>>

The Nation's Health

If you had lived in the early twentieth century, your life expectancy would have been much shorter than it is today. Today, life expectancy for men is 75 years; for women, it is 80 years. In 1918, life expectancy for men was only 53 years. Women’s life expectancy at 54 was only marginally better.

Life expectancy, sewers and sanitation, public health and education, the fight against disease in the community. More>>

Seeking Medical Care

If you became sick in nineteenth-century America, you might consult a doctor, a druggist, a midwife, a folk healer, a nurse or even your neighbor. Most of these practitioners would visit you in your home.

Feeling sick in 1918, how ordinary people viewed disease, folk and scientific medicine, nurses, doctors. More>>

The Public Health Service

Founded in 1798, the Marine Hospital Service originally provided health care for sick and disabled seaman. By the late nineteenth century, the growth of trade, travel and immigration networks had led the Service to expand its mission to include protecting the health of all Americans.

In a nation where federal and state authorities had consistently battled for supremacy, the powers of the Public Health Service were limited. Viewed with suspicion by many state and local authorities, PHS officers often found themselves fighting state and local authorities as well as epidemics—even when they had been called in by these authorities. More>>

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