Health authorities realized that the deadly strain of influenza seen in increasing numbers in the military since March was spreading widely among the civilian population and that many countries around the world were on the brink of an unparalleled flu epidemic.

In strict quarantine since the opening of college, Vassar students raised $600 for influenza relief work in Arlington, made masks and swabs in the Red Cross workroom at the college, collected clothes and blankets, made layettes and every morning squeezed hundreds of oranges in the basement of Students’ Building.

On September 28 Congress approved a special $1 million fund to enable the Public Health Service to recruit physicians and nurses specifically to battle the epidemic. 

On Oct. 6, Philadelphia recorded 289 deaths from the disease in a single day.