Look up Deedy in Websters Dictionary and you will see the following definition - \Deed"y\, a. Industrious; active. [R.] --Cowper. But to me Deedy is simply my last name and not a very common one at that. My Father always said "find yourself in a strange city? Open a phone book, find a Deedy and give them a call - chances are they are a relative." So, for all the Deedy's out there hello and welcome.

Jane Sullivan and the 1918-1919 Boston Influenza Pandemic

Poor Great-Aunt Jane, she obtained her nurse training at Massachusetts General Hospital in the midst of the greatest pandemic to hit Boston. An article found in the old family scrapbook gives some insight into just how tough Jane's nursing training must have been:
Eighty Nurses Graduated in Victory Class at Mass. General Hospital

[Caption under photo: Graduation class of 1919 of the Massachusetts General Hospital]

Eighty young women, constituting the "Victory" class of the Massachusetts General Hospital, after completing the hardest year of continuous hard nursing that has ever been done by pupil nurses in the history of the institution, were graduated last night.

Dr. Henry P. Walcott, chairman of the board of trustees, who presided at the exercises and announced the graduates, declared that each individual member of the class had done as high a service and incurred as grave a danger as any nurse or soldier in service abroad.


The members of the class have in the past year nursed over 800 cases of influenza which came in two great waves. Over half of the class were seriously ill with the disease; and all, because of the severe tax which overwork placed upon them, were made dangerously susceptible. One of their number died. A scarlet fever epidemic placed 36 of the girls on the dangerous list, but all survived.

"There are no words," said Dr. Henry Van Dyke, who made the address of the evening, "that can fittingly commend the part that women, and especially nurses, have played in the winning of the war. The type of service that did not flinch even before an enemy that chose as its favorite target that Red Cross on the roof of a hospital, can never be given its just reward in rhetoric.
It has been estimated that between September 1, 1918 and January 16, 1919, approximately 45,000 people died from influenza in Massachusetts alone. I hope the rest of Great-Aunt Jane's nursing career was relatively peaceful after that introduction to her profession.


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