To the Editor:
Becky Pritchard’s front-page article on the pandemic of 1918 was a well-researched account of how MDI fared more than a century ago.
I referenced this subject in “Creating Acadia National Park.” As with the current scourge, Mainers were insufficiently prepared, though Harvard University president Charles W. Eliot of Northeast Harbor had warned members of Congress in May of 1918 that despite the demands of the Great War, this was the time “when the American nation should make every expenditure at home which can promote the health and vigor of the next generation, [including spending] more than we ever did before on schools, libraries, open areas in congested towns, good housing, and the national and municipal parks.”
Of course, implicit in his message was the importance of the legislation to establish Lafayette National Park. Yet the lack of executive commitment to public health in the Wilson Era bears a remarkable similarity to what we all are now living through.
Ronald H. Epp